Panama & Costa Rica — winter 2012 Канада


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Коста-рика и Панама: найдите отличия

На нашем ресурсе мы никогда не проводили сравнения Панамы с Коста-Рикой. Наконец, в этой статье мы решили рассказать, в чем преимущество Панамы перед ее соседом на западе. Было бы глупо утверждать, что Панама превосходит Коста-Рику во всем, но мы, несмотря на очевидную склонность в сторону Панамы, постараемся объяснить эти преимущества честно и объективно.

В конце XX века Коста-Рика активно заселялась экспатами из США, Канады и Европы (от англ. expat, или expatriate, т.е. буквально «за пределами родины». Человек с гражданством одной страны и работающий по контрактуили живущий в другой стране) в силу своего прекрасного климата, дружелюбных людей, потрясающей природы и низких цен. Однако с начала 2000-х, многие из них стали подыскивать новое место для жизни–преимущества жизни в Коста-Рике таяли на глазах. С одной стороны, Коста-Рика по-прежнему оставалась очень привлекательным местом, но огромное количество иммигрантов с деньгами в некотором смысле «испортили» местный рынок. В 2012 году Сан Хосе был назван городом с самой дорогой недвижимостью в Латинской Америке. В результате, внимание экспатов переключилось на соседние страны. Многие обратили свой взор на соседнюю Никарагуа, разрекламировавшей себя как райское местечко с невероятной дешевизной. Однако, многих отпугнули нестабильная политическая ситуация и высокий уровень бедности. Поэтому Панама, которая всегда была гостеприимной страной, притянула на свои земли уже немало иностранцев и продолжает привлекать к себе все большее внимание.

Причин тому немало: относительно низкие цены, привлекательная иммиграционная политика (особенно для граждан североамериканских стран), налоговые льготы и др.

Недавно журнал International Living так охарактеризовал основные преимущества Панамы:

• Современное устройство города и впечатляющая архитектура;
• Развитый финансовый рынок;
• Великолепная природа: острова, пляжи, леса, и даже небольшие области горных массивов;
• Увлекательная сеть казино;
• Прекрасные возможности для шопинга;
• Приветливый народ;
• Доступная система здравоохранения.

Если делать сравнение с Коста-Рикой, можно с уверенностью сказать, что практически все категории товаров дешевле в Панаме. Также налогообложение имеет более мягкий характер. Стоимость коммунальных услуг и здравоохранения сопоставимы по цене в двух странах, но что касается индустрии развлечений, то выбор шире в Панаме.

Цены на недвижимость в Панаме и Коста-Рике находятся на схожих уровнях, и нужно сказать, что в обеих странах для покупки недвижимости иностранцу понадобиться помощь местного адвоката. Рынок Панамы более выровнен по сегментам, разница между минимумом и максимумом в Коста-Рике гораздо выше.

Прогноз для Панамы

Страна привлекает все больше иммигрантов, и хорошие предложения постепенно исчерпывают себя. Еще год-два, в этой стране картина на рынке недвижимости может оказаться похожей на Коста-Рику. Сейчас остается возможность найти очень выгодные предложения, но мы не можем гарантировать, что рынок Панамы не «переплюнет» цены Коста-Рики уже в ближайшие годы.

Windstar ships take cruisers to h >

Windstar Cruises sends its sleek power yacht, Star Breeze, into the lush wilderness of Costa Rica and Panama during the winter cruise season.

When most cruise ships sail the Panama Canal, they do so in a single day, zipping from one end to the other. In most cases, these itineraries bypass Panama and Costa Rica entirely, with ships favouring the Mexican Riviera on the Pacific Coast, or the Caribbean on the Atlantic side.

Seattle-based Windstar Cruises takes a different approach. It deploys its 212-guest Star Breeze and her sister, Star Pride, on a series of weeklong Costa Rica & Panama Canal voyages during the winter months. Beginning in San Jose, Costa Rica (Puerto Caldera) and ending in Colon, Panama (or reverse), these cruises focus on the ports, national parks and hidden gems of Costa Rica and Panama.

I sailed aboard Star Breeze earlier this year on one of her voyages from Puerto Caldera to Colon and found a lot to like about this itinerary.

I went primarily to experience the Panama Canal transit, but I ended up highly enjoying the places we visited along the way. Plus, this voyage had more of an active expedition feel to it, with excursions that included dolphin watching in Golfo Dulce, horseback riding in Bahia Drake and even surfing lessons in Quepos.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to participate in these extra-cost tours, but it’s not a bad idea to budget for that. Still, I enjoyed a pleasant — if extraordinarily hot — morning hiking the trails of the lush, tropical forests in Bahia Drake, which conveniently lead to one of the island’s better beaches.

The other added advantage of this itinerary? It actually provides guests with time to explore Panama City; a port of call that most other lines sail right by. A bustling metropolis, I took a walking tour through the historic Old Town before travelling by land to the Panama Canal’s Miraflores Locks to learn about the history of the Canal and to watch as dozens of massive cargo ships entered the locks from the Pacific side on their journey east. It proved to be a very educational lesson prior to our own transit.

One highlight is Windstar’s Private Event on the remote (and largely deserted) Isla de Coiba. Here, the crew of the Star Breeze prepared a barbecue lunch on the beach, complete with drinks and such activities as snorkelling, swimming and beach volleyball. Of course, if you want to stay closer to the ship, the Star Breeze’s retractable marina platform (with its complimentary water toys) makes it easy to go for a quick kayak in the sheltered waters.

For me, half the draw of this itinerary is the chance to sail aboard the pretty Star Breeze. You might remember her better when she was sailing as Seabourn’s Seabourn Spirit. Windstar bought her and her two identical sisters back in 2014, and put them into service in 2015 after a very substantial top-to-bottom makeover.

The results are impressive, with new public spaces that sport all-new decor, colour schemes and amenities. All cabins onboard are oceanview suites that measure at least 277 square feet and include marble bathrooms, spacious sitting areas, and very comfortable shipboard beds.

Windstar also had the top decks of Star Breeze and her sisters enlarged, to allow for more space for guests to suntan, and to indulge in the line’s legendary on-deck barbecue that arguably ranks as one of cruising’s best shipboard events.

Star Breeze and her sisters complement Windstar’s existing fleet, which includes three intimate hybrid cruise-sailing ships. Star Breeze may not have sails that can be raised, but Windstar’s traditional sail-raising ceremony makes its way to the three new ships with a very memorable flag-raising ceremony that happens on-deck upon departure from every port.

Star Breeze returns to Costa Rica and Panama this December, along with newly renovated sister ship Star Pride. Both vessels will operate Windstar’s weeklong Costa Rica & Panama Canal itineraries through March 2020.

Panama & Costa Rica — winter 2012 Канада

Originally published at you are not your Live Journal. You can comment here or there.

Почему Коста Рика, спросите вы? Красиво, сука- отвечу я. Когда я выбирал куда лететь среди стран, куда мы проходили по бюджету билетов, погуглил КР. С одной стороны Карибское море, с другой- Тихий океан, вулканы, горячие источники, леса с живностью посередине. Посмотрел фотки оттуда и все вопросы отпали сами собой!

Вообще Латинская Америка дается в плане путешествий не так легко, как Азия. Отчетов по Коста Рике- раз, два и обчелся. На форуме Винского шаром покати, да и ездят в основном русские живущие в Канаде и Америке. Практически у всех стандартный маршрут без особых изысков- по вулканам и на Тихоокеанское побережье. Я же решил помочить ноги сразу в двух океанах…

Коста Рика одна из самых безопасных стран Латинской Америки (на это начинаешь смотреть после рождения ребенка) и одна из самых богатых, что автоматически ее делает дорогой для путешествий. Небольшое summary по расходам будет в конце.

Подготовка к поездке после покупки билетов была довольно стандартная:

1) обзор отчетов с форума Винского, составление краткого листа «must see» и «to do», наброска примерного маршрута

2) бронь машины и отелей в тех местах и на те даты, которые точно определены

3) утрясание мелочей типа «что там с телефоном-интернетом», «какую валюту везти» и тд и тп

Медстраховка у нас была от моей кредитной карты, как и страховка машины. Хоть на этом сократили расходы…Ну вот собственно и все. Не сказать, чтобы прям сильно маршрутом занимался, но основные пункты я закрыл.

В день-Х срулил с работы после обеда, дособирал заранее подготовленный рюкзак, бережно завернул с собой курочку гриль и вареные яички (шутка), так как на международном (!) 5-ти (!) часовом рейсе не кормят (не шутка). Ветровка-убер-аэропорт. Air Canada обещали внутренний WiFi в самолете, чтобы смотреть фильмы через их приложение, но он так и не заработал.

Часть I. Карибское побережье.

По прилету пытаюсь купить симку и снять кэш в аэропорту, но то очередь большая, то банкомат не работает… Поэтому просто находим чувака из проката, где я забронил машину и нас везут в их офис. Быстренько оформляю Daihatsu Terios, знакомый еще по Сахалину, закидываем вещи в тачку и отправляемся на место первой ночевки. Местное время уже 10 часов вечера. По дороге все таки снимаю бабло, покупаю в супермаркете перекусить и попить. Мы не стали останавливаться в Сан Хосе, потому что ловить там совершенно нечего, а поехали сразу к вулкану Irazu, куда я планировал забраться завтра по пути на карибское побережье.

Приехали, бухнулись спать. Ночью было ппц как холодно, я еще подумал фига мы на отдых приехали. С утра понял почему, когда увидел проплывающие на уровне крыши нашего домика облака �� Утром стало довольно тепло, но все равно не жарко. Даже не верилось, что мы где-то в тропиках…

Через час выдвинулись в сторону вулкана. Лайфхак- если платить наликом, можно скинуть небольшую сумму за счет налогов на чекауте. По дороге заехали в универмаг, закинул бабла на местную симку и купили кое-какие мелочи.

Дорога до вулкана сильно напоминала подъем к грузинской церкви Gergeti Trinity около Казбеги, где я как-то ушатал Mitsubishi Outlander. Но в этот раз дорога была отличная, и за подвеску я не переживал :)))

Через час доехали до вершины, заплатили за вход (10USD/чел), пошли гулять. Конечно до Мерапи после извержения этот вулкан не дотягивает, но все равно было очень круто прогуляться по краешку кратера.

Внизу голубеет озерцо, подразумеваю- кислотища! По крайней мере спуститься и проверить не получится.

На саааамой вершине кратера стоит куча сотовых вышек и недострой то ли ресторана, то ли еще чего.

На эту смотровую идет убитая грунтовка и туда поднимаются либо пешком, либо на свой страх и риск, но зря я что ли за джипчик переплачивал? :)))

Вид сверху лучше!

Вроде как, сверху видно оба побережья- карибское и тихоокеанское.

Оценив как следует прелести вида сверху и силу ветра на вершине, мы поехали наконец в сторону карибского побережья. 200 км Гугл оценил нам в 4.5 часа пути. Дорога, надо признать, пролетела совершенно незаметно из-за того, что за нами постоянно сыпались кирпичи, которые я откладывал на виражах ��

Еще хотелось постоянно останавливаться и фоткать, но на узкой двухполосной дороге, у которой с одной стороны обрыв, сделать это было нереально. Оставалось только пилить таймлапсы ��

Из удивитеьного 1) за 200 км, которые мы проехали от вершины до побережья, сменилось 4 климатических зоны 2) бананы на плантациях Dole растут сразу в надетых на них пластиковых пакетах- хз почему, может чтоб паковать было удобнее, а может чтобы быстрее вызревали в микропарнике…

К морю выехали около 5-ти часов вечера. Решили не ехать в забронированный отель, а просто потусить часок на побережье, так как закат в 6 вечера никто не отменял.

Просто съехали с трассы в ближайший лесочек и по тропиночке тихонько доползли до пляжа, где уже отдыхала семья тико (так себя называют коста-риканцы).

Вот так дикарем, чтобы встать с машиной на берегу, я выбирался на море только на Сахалине. И это было круто! Весь пляж в твоем распоряжении. Никаких надоедливых торговцев, тел престарелых туристов из Америки, вообще ни-ко-го!

Приехали в отель уже затемно, впрочем как всегда. Так как световой день всего до 6-ти вечера, приходилось по максимуму его использовать и откладывать переезды на вечер.

На утро пошли исследовать местные кафэхи на предмет завтрака, а потом сразу щеманулись на пляж. Наконец то полноценное валяние на пляже, ура!

Как и накануне, я просто свернул на проселочную дорогу идущую к морю, как только увидел полосу прибоя сквозь деревья. Поставил тачку в 20 метрах от пляжа в лесу, перенесли припасики и раскинули лагерь на первую половину дня �� Это был пляж Playa Cocles, точнее самое его начало…

После обеда переехали на Playa Punta Uva, его советовали как самый крутой на этом побережье (враки! самый крутой ниже будет ;)) Punto Uva оказался похуже того места, где мы были до обеда. Была суббота, поэтому все местные выехали шашлы жарить на природу �� Так что народу было очень много…На восточной оконечности пляжа волны были меньше всего и Тимофей даже немного поплавал, до этого ссал.

На следующий день пошли (точнее я уговорил немного похайкать насколько это возможно с Тимофеем) в природный заповедник Manzanillo. Особо не впечатлились, на Бали чем то похоже. Волны очень сильные, купаться фигово, местых дофига (дело было в воскресенье).

Потом оставил Аню с Тимофеем потусить на пляже, сам по джунглям пробежался. В джунглях немного прикольнее. Главное по тропе идти, шоб на змеюку не наступить!

А если вертеть головой, то можно задетектить ленивца) Вспоминаем «Зверополис» и умиляемся!

Собсна в заповеднике всего один трейл (который мне был интересен) на 40 минут, поэтому мы уже через часок вышли назад и пошли на общественный пляж Manzanillo. Народ тусит- шашлычки, кофеек, ромчик. Все как у нас (почти).

Мы уехали в западную его часть и раскинули лагерь. Рядом играли местные детишки и была небольшая заводь с приливной водой, где они бултыхались. Аня стальным готосом сообщила, чтобы я даже не рыпался больше никуда, так как здесь будет что поделать Тимофею с детворой, да и покупаться ему не проблемно. Окей, чо) Ну а я пока пойдку прогуляюсь подальше.

Не знаю что за крейсер на приколе, но вроде недавнешний, выглядит довольно свежо.

Пока суть да дело, я разузнал еще про один пляжик, который находится на отшибе, да и доехать туда на обычной тачке непросто. На следующий день у нас был запланирован переезд в городок La Fortuna. Чтобы не терять драгоценный световой день, мы первую половину провели на нем и не зря- это был лучший пляж за всю поездку.

Народу- никого! Отличное место для фотосессии ��

Вобщем, карибское побережье оставило после себя самые приятные воспоминания и запомнилось ненапряжной атмосферой и безлюдными пляжами, на которых можно словить стопроцентный релакс.

На следующий день мы уехали в Ла Фортуну, но рассказ об этом участке нашего путешествия будет вынесен в отдельный пост, чтобы не перегружать фотками пост про пляжный отдых.

Часть II. Тихоокеанское побережье.

На тихоокеанском побережье мы поселились в местечке Playa Grande, подальше от туристических Brasilito и Tamarindo. Мы были на машине, так что для нас это роли не играло. Сам Большой Пляж был серферским местом с большими волнами и не особо пригодным для купания, поэтому мы принялись исследовать окрестные пляжи, отдохнув от жары в Ла Фортуне.

Самый раскрученый в интернете это Playa Conchal, который безусловно очень красивый, но народу много. По сравнению с карибской стороной видно, что тут в основном отдыхают турики из Канады и Америки. Цены повыше как и запросы у местных.

Был самый пик сухого сезона и тихоокеанская сторона, не избалованная дождями в отличие от карибской, была совсем сухая и вызженная солнцем. Скалистые, вулканические берега, сухие деревья, пожухлая трава… Похоже немного на Кипр, Крит или Тенерифе, по крайней мере так я их представляю :)))


В целом мы так провели эти несколько дней- завтрак, пляж, обед, другой пляж/какие то прогулки по окресностям/тупки в отельчике (у хозяев отельчика был сын Тимофеевского возраста, поэтому Ане было по приколу оставаться там с мелким, чтобы они играли), ужин, вечерние посиделки на веранде под homemade коктейльчики. Короче ватакатата)

В один из дней взял урок серфинга. Понравилось, но думаю что спустил деньни на ветер) С таким же успехом можно было просто арендовать доску и самому поучиться, базируясь на том, что я видел в «На гребне волны» и на Бали. Один фиг на волну выйти не получилось бы, а на доску встать я и так встал.

Последний наш закат на тихоокеанском побережье и единственный, который удалось заснять )

На следующий день мы до упора были на Playa Minа. Тоже очень крутое место- добраться на обычной машине нереально. Познакомились с местной семьей, угощали друг друга всяческими вкусняшками и пивасиком. Очень душевные люди!

По краям пляжа было немного рифов. Из за песка видимость не очень хорошая, но ската успел спалить)

Жалко было уезжать с этого чудесного пляжа вечером, но деваться некуда. На следующий день в 8 часов утра мы улетали в Торонто, поэтому надо было доехать до Сан Хосе и вписаться в отель поближе в прокату, чтобы с утра сдать тачку и не опоздать на самолет.

До Сан Хосе доехали без проблем, успели закупиться в супермаркете «сувенирами» многолетней выдержки ��

С утра все прошло как по маслу- сдал тачку, на шатле доехали до аэропорта, в дьютике слили последний, местный кэш и домой! В целом, имею сказать следующее: Коста Рика это такой микс из Бали (по природе и многообразию всего- горы, море, леса) и Мексики (по языку, традициям и менталитету), но всяко дороже. Люди приятные и отзывчивые, без кидалова и разводок. Настраивался на терки с прокатчиками- все прошло четко. Вообще это был самый гладкий трип из всех- ни одного косяка, ни одного факапа, все как планировал. Даже удивительно… ��

КДПВ: «сувениры с Коста Рики»

На этом наверное все, вторая часть отчета о Коста Рике, точнее об активной ее части в городке La Fortuna будет тут!

Pure Panama & Costa Rica

Highlights

Places Visited

Activities

  • Small Ship

Trip Snapshots

Day 1 Panama City, Panama | Embark

Day 2 Guna Yala

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 3 Guna Yala

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 4 Fort San Lorenzo | Panama Canal

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 5 Darien Jungle

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 6 Pearl Islands Archipelago

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 7 Gulf of Panama | Marine Life Search

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 8 Granito de Oro, Coiba National Park, Panama

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 9 Captain’s Choice

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 10 Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 11 Osa Conservation Area

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner


Day 12 Curu National Wildlife Refuge

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner

Day 13 San Jose, Costa Rica | Disembarkation

  • 1 Breakfast

Safari Voyager

Notes

— All rates are quoted in USD and represent cost per person, based on double occupancy
— Children ages 8-13 are welcome on all sailings and will received a $500 per child savings

Included in your fare:
— Group transfers and baggage handling between airport/vessel on embark/disembark day
— Entry fees to national parks/preserves
— From-the-vessel adventure activities and equipment
— Exclusive activities and shore visits
— All meals aboard the vessel
— Premium wine, beer and liquor (excludes super-premium wines)
— Non-alcoholic beverages
— Wellness amenities
— Onboard expedition/heritage guides and guest experts

Not included in your fare:
Airfare to and from your home city
— Discretionary gratuities to vessel’s crew
— Travel protection
— Optional excursions and land tours
— Port taxes/fees

Deposit & Payment

Initial deposit is $750 cruises 14 nights or less, $1500 for Galapagos cruises, and most travelers will call our office and pay the deposit with a credit card. Alternatively, you can register online here.

Final payment is due 70 days prior to departure by Visa, Mastercard, Discover or AmEx.

Click here to see a copy of our Terms and Conditions

Costa Rica

Contents

Costa Rica is a small country in Central America. This nation has bewilderingly diverse culture, climates, flora, fauna, and landscapes. From rainforests, to dry tropical and temperate forests, to volcanoes, to Caribbean and Pacific beaches, to high mountains, and marshy lowlands. It’s an exceptionally stable and peaceful country and is one of the world’s top destinations for nature and ecotourism.

Regions [ edit ]

Central Valley
The center of Costa Rica; mostly urban. It holds the nation’s most populated cities, including San José. Many museums and a few volcanoes are of note in this area.
Central Pacific
Home to well-known Costa Rican beaches and national parks. Perhaps one of the most tourist-oriented parts of Costa Rica, along with Guanacaste.
Guanacaste
The «dry region» of Costa Rica, with little rain any time of year, fabulous beaches and surfing, and some large volcanic and dry forest parks in the north by the Nicaraguan border
Limón
The least visited region of the country, owing to its relative isolation. Nevertheless, there are great opportunities for whitewater rafting and sea turtle spotting. There are many beautiful beaches as well. It is also considered to be an outpost of Jamaican culture in Costa Rica due to its large proportion of residents of Jamaican descent.
North Costa Rica
A sparsely populated, but beautiful and mountainous region, most famous for its active volcano, Arenal, and the surrounding hot springs, volcanic lakes, and cloud forests.
South Pacific Costa Rica
One of the most bio-diverse environments on the planet, full of exotic endemic flora and fauna, and some of the planet’s most beautiful and remote tropical beaches.

Cities [ edit ]

Due to Costa Rica’s topography and historical development, most economical growth has been concentrated in the Central Valley of the country which includes four cities: San José (capital), Alajuela, Cartago and Heredia. Provincial capitals (Liberia, Puntarenas and Limón) and other towns with strategic locations have regional importance, especially for tourism. Some of Costa Rica’s most important cities for travellers are:

  • 9.9333333333333 -84.083333333333 1San José — The capital.
  • 10.016666666667 -84.216666666667 2Alajuela — location of Juan Santamaría International Airport
  • 9.8666666666667 -83.916666666667 3Cartago — Costa Rica’s first capital
  • 9.6166667 -84.627778 4Jacó — the Central Pacific coast’s largest city, among incredibly biodiversity and natural beauty, famous surf spot
  • 9.9963888888889 -84.116666666667 5Heredia — Coffee plantations
  • 10.633333333333 -85.433333333333 6Liberia — Location of Daniel Oduber International Airport and gateway to the beaches of Guanacaste, such as Samara, Nosara, Carillo
  • 9.9833333333333 -83.033333333333 7Puerto Limón — Main city on the Caribbean s >10.333333333333 -84.433333333333 8Quesada — the largest city by far in the country’s North, surrounded by hot springs popular with Costa Rican vacationers; known locally as «San Carlos»

Other destinations [ edit ]

  • 10.463333333333 -84.703333333333 1Arenal Volcano — active volcano
  • 9.72916667 -82.825 2Cahuita National Park
  • 9.48 -83.48 3Chirripo National Park
  • 5.5280555555556 -87.061111111111 4Cocos Island National Park
  • 8.55 -83.583333333333 5Corcovado National Park
  • 9.37555556 -84.13583333 6Manuel Antonio National Park
  • 10.3 -84.81666667 7Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves
  • 10.83 -85.323888888889 8Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park
  • 10.5833 -83.5167 9Tortuguero National Park

Understand [ edit ]

Capital San José
Currency Costa Rican colón (CRC)
Population 4.8 million (2013)
Electricity 120 volt / 60 hertz (NEMA 1-15, NEMA 5-15)
Country code +506
Time zone UTC−06:00
Emergencies 911, 112 (emergency medical services, fire department, police)
Driving side right
edit on Wikidata

Since the late 1980s, Costa Rica has been a popular nature travel destination, and its main competitive advantage is its well-established system of national parks and protected areas, covering around 23.4% of the country’s land area, the largest in the world as a percentage of the country’s territory, and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, in a country that has only 0.03% of the world’s landmass, but that is estimated to contain 5% of the world’s biodiversity. The country also has plenty of world renowned beaches, in the Pacific Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea, within short travel distances between the coasts by air and land, and also several active volcanoes that can be visited with safety.

By the early 1990s, Costa Rica became known as a world leader of ecotourism. According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board, 46% of international tourists visiting the country in 2009 engaged in activities related to ecotourism, including trekking, flora, fauna, and bird watching, and visits to rural communities. However, most visitors look for adventure activities, which Costa Rica offers as well. Costa Rica was included by Ethical Traveler magazine in the 2011 and the 2012 list of The Developing World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations.

Costa Rica has managed to avoid the political turmoil and violence from which neighbouring nations still suffer. The nation constitutionally abolished its army permanently in the 1940s. It is the only Latin American country included in the list of the world’s 22 oldest democracies, and is a peaceful and politically stable nation. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, and is cited by the UN Development Program as one of the countries that has attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels.

Costa Rica is ranked third in the world and first among the Americas in terms of the 2010 Environmental Performance Index. And the New Economics Foundation (NEF) ranked Costa Rica as the happiest nation in the world in 2009 and in 2012. NEF ranked Costa Rica as the «greenest» country in the world.

Costa Rica has been home to a large Jamaican diaspora community in Limón Province since the 19th century, and an English-based creole similar to Jamaican patois continues to be spoken there. As such, don’t be surprised to meet locals with English names (such as football (soccer) players Joel Campbell and Kendall Watson) despite Costa Rica being a Spanish-speaking country.

The name Costa Rica means ‘Rich Coast’ in Spanish.

History [ edit ]

While Costa Rica shares much of its history well into the 19th century with the other central American states (and in fact gained independence on the same day as Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) which is still visible in the blue white blue basic flag of all these countries (Costa Rica simply added a red stripe in the middle of the white one), there are some notable differences. The most visible today is that in Costa Rica European settlement mostly occurred in the Central Valley, which led to it becoming the economic and political heart of the country and the ancestry decidedly European. While the political climate until the short civil war of 1948 (won by José Figueres Ferer, who would later be president for three separate times and was one of Costa Rica’s most influential politicians) was not all that different from the rest of Central America (think coups and rigged elections) it has since bettered a lot and all elections since 1949 were peaceful and up to international democratic standards. One reason for this is that Figueres upon taking over abolished the military and Costa Rica is still one of only a handful of countries without one, leading to fewer coups and more money for education and social programs. This however has led to Costa Rica being hugely influenced by the USA and being one of America’s closest allies in the region.

In the 1980s almost all of Central America was embroiled in civil wars and shaky unpopular governments. Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez made a peace proposal that got almost all sides in war-torn Nicaragua to sit together and talk and achieved a lasting peaceful solution and democratic elections in 1990. However Nicaragua-Costa Rica relations have deteriorated in recent years and dominated the political agenda of Arias Sanchez’ second term in the 2000s. Rio San Juan, which belongs to Nicaragua but is situated at the border, became a hot button issue. One point of contention were Nicaraguan drainage operations on the river which Nicaragua claims was to ensure safe shipping, but Costa Rica claims illegally entered their territory (Nicaragua pointed to google maps in their defense). Another point of contention is whether Costa Rica has to pay a fee for tourist excursions on the river — Costa Rica claims an old treaty guarantees both countries free navigation of the river, whereas Nicaragua maintains the only thing the treaty says is that Costa Rican ships may transport «goods» without paying a fee and people are not, in fact, goods. The whole situation was made worse by Arias Sanchez’ successor Laura Chinchilla who insisted on building a controversial highway right next to the river over Nicaraguan protests, which Nicaragua claims not only harms Costa Rican nature reserves but might also overload the river with sediment. The whole issue is further complicated by a number anywhere from several hundred thousand to a million Nicaraguans living in various states of legality in Costa Rica. They are not always treated all that well. However, signs of reconciliation are also made from both sides and a new bridge now crosses the Rio San Juan near San Carlos (Nicaragua) enabling overland transport towards Los Chiles and both countries do see each other as «pueblos hermanos» (brother peoples) if sometimes bothersome and annoying brothers.

Geography [ edit ]

Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus, lying between latitudes and 12°N, and longitudes 82° and 86°W. It has a total of 1,290 kilometers (800 mi) of coastline, 212 km (132 mi) on the Caribbean coast and 1,016 km (631 mi) on the Pacific.

Costa Rica borders Nicaragua to the north (309 km or 192 mi of border) and Panama to the south-southeast (639 km or 397 mi of border). In total, Costa Rica comprises 51,100 square kilometers (19,700 sq mi) plus 589 square kilometers (227 sq mi) of territorial waters.

The highest point in the country is Cerro Chirripó, at 3,819 metres (12,530 ft); it is the fifth highest peak in Central America. The highest volcano in the country is the Irazú Volcano (3,431 m or 11,257 ft). The largest lake in Costa Rica is Lake Arenal.

Costa Rica also comprises several islands. Cocos Island (24 km²/9.3 sq miles) stands out because of its distance from the continental landmass, 480 km (300 mi) from Puntarenas, but Calero Island is the largest island of the country (151.6 km²/58.5 sq mi).

Nearly 25% of Costa Rica’s national territory is protected by SINAC (the National System of Conservation Areas), which oversees all of the country’s protected areas.

Flora and fauna [ edit ]

Costa Rica is such a popular destination for ecotourists because of its biodiversity. Costa Rica has the greatest density of species in the world, and around 25% of its national territory is protected by a system of conservation areas and national parks. The country may contain as much as 6% of the world’s plant and animal species. Tropical plant and animal species are abound in Costa Rica. Some of the more impressive plants range from huge ficus trees with epiphytes abounding on their limbs to approximately 1500 different orchids. The animals are just as majestic, whether it’s a jaguar (the largest cat in the New World), the ever-elusive Margay, or the wonderful birds like the green or scarlet macaws (lapas in Costa Rican Spanish). Among the amphibians the poison dart frogs with their bright colors are bound to catch your attention, as will the giant cane toads.

Climate [ edit ]

Costa Rica
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation + Snow totals in mm
Costa Rica Weather Averages
Imperial conversion
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation + Snow totals in inches

Because Costa Rica is located between 8 and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the climate is tropical, year-round. However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region.


Costa Rica’s seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period and not to the four seasons to which the residents of the temperate latitudes are accustomed. The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The summer, or dry season, lasts from December to April, and winter, or rainy season, lasts from May to November, and during this time it rains constantly in some regions.

The winter, or rainy season, coincides closely with the eastern Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean hurricane seasons. Despite being at tropical latitudes, Costa Rica is rarely struck by hurricanes, with the three most recent notable occurrences being Hurricane Nate, Hurricane Otto, and Hurricane Cesar–Douglas in 2020, 2020, and 1996, respectively.

The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Central Cordillera mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5000 mm. Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side. The mean annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27°C, 20°C in the main populated areas of the Central Cordillera, and below 10°C on the summits of the highest mountains.

Holidays [ edit ]

  • 1 January — New Year’s Day (Año Nuevo)
  • 19 March — St. Joseph (Dia de San José)
  • Maundy Thursday / Good Fr >Festivals [ edit ]
January Fiesta de Palmares. In the first two weeks of January in Palmares music, carnival, rodeo and fireworks.

Fiesta Patronal de Santo Cristo. Two days of rodeos, dances, street parties and a parade with bullock carts (Carretas) in Santa Cruz.
Festival de las Mulas. Donkey races on the beaches of Esterillos (in Jacó). Bullfighting, dance and music.

February Expo Perez Zeledón. Livestock market and orchid show in San Isidro de El General. At the same time an agricultural exhibition.

Good Neighbours Jazz Festival. Jazz in Manuel Antonio.
Carnaval de Puntarenas. Float and markets during the last week of February in Puntarenas.

March Dia del Boyero. On the second Sunday of March in San Antonio de Escazú a parade of decorated bullock carts with music and dance.

Festival Internacional de Arte. Theater and dance performances, concerts and conferences in San José.
Semana Santa. Processions are held across the country during Easter. The crucifixion of Christ is performed e.g. in Cartago and San Joaguin de Flores.

April Dia de Juan Santamaria on April 11 in Alajuela. The fight against William Walker is commemorated with horse shows and drum bands. There is also a beauty contest.

Feria del Ganada. Mid-April in Ciudad Quesada the largest livestock market in the country takes place. Also horse parade and bullfighting.
Feria de Orquideas. Orchids festivial in the Museo Nacional in San José.
Romeria Virgen de la Candelaria. A 6 km long pilgrimage from Paraiso to Ujarrás commemorating a miracle that occurred in the 17th century here. Third Sunday of April.
Semana Universidad. Last week of April. Exhibitions, concerts and the crowning of the queen of the university on the campus of the University of San José.

May Dia de los Trabajadores. On 1 May in large cities the Labor Day is celebrated.

Fiesta Civica. In early May, there are bullfights and horse shows in Cañas.
Dia de San Isidro Labrador. On May 15 in San Isidro de el General in honor of the patron of farmers an oxcart parade is held.
Corpus Christi. Religious processions in Cartago and Pacayas on 29 May.

June Dia de San Pedro y San Pablo. Feast in honor of Peter and Paul in San José. June 29.

Compañia de Lirica Nacional. A two-month festival opera at the Teatro Melico of San José. From mid June.

July Festival de la Virgen del Mar. Party in Puntarenas in honor of Carmen, Virgin of the Sea, including a regatta. Mid July.

Dia de la Anexión de Guanacaste. July 25 is celebrated throughout the country that in 1824 Guanacaste was annexed with music and folk dance.
Chorotega Tourist Fair. Demonstrations of crafts, indigenous cuisine and educational activities in Nicoya. End of July.
Festival Internacional de Música. Classical music by an international group of musicians throughout the country.

August Dia de Nuestra Señora de la Virgen de los Ángeles. On August 2 in Cartago religious processions in honor of La Negrita, the patron lady of Cartago.

Liberia Blanca. A week long local traditional celebrations in Liberia. Early August.
Dia de las Madres. August 15. Mother’s Day on Costa Rican way,. Often is a singer is hired to bring a serenade to mother.
National adventure Tourism Festival. End of August in Turrialba mountain biking, rafting and kayak competitions.
Dia de San Ramón. Celebration in honor of the local patron, San Ramón on 31 August. Marimba Music.
Semana Afro-Costarricense. In late August, early September, in Puerto Limón a week-long festival celebrated by Afro-Costa Ricans.

September Correo de la Candela de Independencia. September 14. From Guatemala a freedom torch is carried by runners to Cartago. Children go across the streets with lanterns.

Dia de la Independencia. September 15. Independence Day with street parties across the country.

October Carnival. In the 2nd week of October the Caribbean Carnival takes place in Puerto Limón with floats, reggae and calypso music.

Dia de las Culturas. On 12 October, the discovery of America by Columbus is commemorated with cultural events throughout the country.
Fiesta del Maiz. Corn Festival in Upala. Mid-October.
Dia del Sabanero. On 18 October is the day of celebration of the Cowboy. Celebrations across the country, especially in Liberia.

November Dias de todos Santos. November 2. All Souls Day is celebrated across the country with processions and laying flowers on graves.

La Ruta de los Conquistadores. Mid November a mountain bike race takes place from coast to coast driven on the route of the conquistadores.
Feria Agroecoturistica. Logging competitions and tractor races in Atenas. Mid-November.
Fiesta de las Carretas. End of November in San José an ox cart parade takes place from Parque Sabana across Paseo Colón.

December Fiesta de los Negritos. On December 8, dancings in Boruca accompanied by traditional drums and flutes.

Fiesta de la Yegüita. On 12 December, in Nicoya is a procession in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Bullfights, concerts and fireworks.

People [ edit ]

Most of the people of Costa Rica are called «Ticos». Compared to many other Latin American countries, the indigenous population and their culture is small and less visible. Other notable minorities are the Afro-Costa Ricans on the Caribbean side of the country and many first or second generation Nicaraguan immigrants.

Get in [ edit ]

Entry requirements [ edit ]

Most visitors can get into Costa Rica without a visa and can stay in the country for 90 days. Costa Rica requires Indian citizens to have a valid visa when they arrive. However, people of any nationality holding valid U.S., Canada, Japan, South Korea or Schengen visas do not need a prior visa. The only conditions being that the visa must be valid for three months and should be stamped in your passport.

Before travelling, verify the entry requirements in effect with TimaticWeb or with a Costa Rican consulate. If you have an unusual passport/visa combination, make sure to allow extra time for check-in, especially if flying with a minor airline, like InterJet, which may not have a TimaticWeb subscription, or whose staff may not know how to use it.

The entry requirements include having a return ticket. If you are doing a multi-country trip, and the return air ticket to your home country is from an adjacent country, such as Panama or Nicaragua, that would usually satisfy the immigration authorities and the airline check-in staff; nonetheless, if travelling on an itinerary like this (especially with an unusual passport), it may be safer to purchase a fully refundable ticket directly from Costa Rica, and cancel it once no longer needed.

A word of caution to Nicaraguan citizens traveling through the San José airport: the 30-day tourist visa for Nicaraguans permits only one single entry. if you have a flight from San José going elsewhere make sure to double check with the embassy, otherwise they will make you buy an extra flight and not let you in.

Costa Rica requires a valid yellow fever certificate if arriving from countries where that disease is prevalent (such as Panama and most South American countries). If such is not presented you would not be allowed to enter/board the flight. At Bogota airport, if you have a certificate you can have it e-mailed to the airline and then proceed to the local vaccination authority for duplicate certificate to be issued free of charge. The critical part is to get the printed version on time. If you don’t have a certificate or cannot get it on time you will probably be approached by friendly police officers to arrange it for a fee. Keep in mind that the date of the vaccination should be at least 10 days prior to entering the country from which you are flying.

Another way to get to Costa Rica is travelling by car and driving the Pan-American highway that stretches from Alaska all the way to the southern tip of South America (with a gap in the Darien Gap, in Panama/Colombia). It is 27,197 miles long and passes right through Costa Rica.

By plane [ edit ]

  • 9.993889 -84.208889 1Juan Santamaría Airport ( SJOIATA ) ( close to the cities Alajuela (3 km (1.9 mi)), Heredia and the capital San José (25 km (16 mi)). ). SJO is run by the same organization that runs the airports in Houston, Texas. The pleasant airport features the normal assortment of duty-free shops, interesting souvenir and bookshops, but has an inadequate selection of restaurants (Church’s Chicken, Burger King, Poás Deli Cafe and Papa John’s pizza). SJO is served daily by Air Transat (seasonal) American Airlines, Canjet (Seasonal), Condor, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Iberia, Interjet, JetBlue Airways, Spirit Airlines, United, Air Canada, Avianca, Copa Airlines and AirPanama. Connecting the airport with cities such as: Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, Chicago, Newark, Toronto, Montreal, Madrid, Frankfurt, Mexico City, Bogotá, Medellín, Caracas, Lima, Guayaquil, Quito and all Central American capitals.
    There is a US$32 exit fee at the Juan Santamaría Airport. This must be paid in cash, or by Visa (in which case it will be processed as a cash advance). The fee can also be paid in advance at some hotels or banks (Banco Crédito Agrícola de Cártago and Banco de Costa Rica).
    The exit fee is included in the ticket fee by many airlines, such as American Airlines, Avianca, Copa, Delta, Jet Blue, United, Air Panamá, Aeroméxico, and Air Canada. Ask your airline if it is included in the price.
  • 10.593056 -85.544167 2Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport ( LIRIATA ) ( near Liberia in the Guanacaste province ). This airport is closest to the Pacific Northwest coast. Liberia receives flights from Delta, American, United, JetBlue, Air Canada, CanJet (charter), Sun Wing (charter), and First Choice (charter). Connecting the airport with Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Newark, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, London, etc.
  • 9.957222 -84.139444 3Tobías Bolaños International Airport ( SYQIATA ) ( in the Pavas district of San José about a 10-15 minute drive from the city center. ). This airport primarily serves as the gateway linking to local Costa Rican domestic flights or nearby international destinations of Nicaragua and Panama. This airport is the hub for Aerobell. The terminal is neat, and clean though small. There is reasonably priced cafeteria food service on the second floor of the terminal. The terminal is not open 24 hr a day so if you have an early flight verify what time the building opens before you take the taxi. There is no comfortable place to wait near the terminal if you arrive too early. ( updated Feb 2020 )

Departure tax [ edit ]

Flights from Europe (and return) do always include the departure tax in the air ticket—there is a law or so in the EU. This is probably true for flights from the US as well. Otherwise single flights out of the country especially with local airline or into neighbouring countries will not include the departure tax, which can be between US$20-40.

By car [ edit ]

The Interamericana (Pan-American Highway) runs through Costa Rica and is the main entry point by car. The border post in the north (to Nicaragua) is called Peñas Blancas and in the south (to Panamá) Paso Canoas (closes at 22:00 Costa Rican time, or 23:00 Panamá time). Virtually all travel out of the capital (except to the Caribbean side) will involve traveling this road. The locals call the highway Via Muerta, and after you have been on it a while you understand why — near San José and other major cities, the road is paved and has excellent signage; outside of the major cities, however, the road is gravel in places with fairly tight turns and substantial changes in elevation. You will see more large truck traffic on this road than in any part of Costa Rica. There are many speed traps along this major artery, as well as some random police checks for seat belts and, especially near the borders, for valid travel documents.

The highway speed is 80 km/h, but since the Interamericana (a.k.a. Highway #1) passes through innumerable small towns, the speed frequently drops to 50 or even 30 km/h as you suddenly find yourself in a school zone. Most of the highway is not divided. A common indicator that a police checkpoint is ahead is that oncoming cars flick their lights at you. There are tickets that exceed US$400 for attempting to bribe an officer, and other big-ticket tickets for drunken driving, speeding, and other illegal actions including talking on a cell phone and not using seat belts. Be nice to the police if you are pulled over because they can «throw the book» at you, although they generally do not. This could mean citing you for minor offenses such as the requirement that every car carry an emergency kit. There is a 3-year prison sentence for driving with a 0.8 blood alcohol level and a US$480 fine. Driving over 20 km/h over the speed limit is a US$310 and losing 20 points. Police tend to target tourists because they think that Costa Ricans don’t have the money to pay the big tickets, and they’re right. The police themselves earn about US$500 per month, which is the average monthly wage in Costa Rica.

The Autopista Del Sol (Highway of the Sun) stretches from the beaches around Orotina all the way into San José. This highway is smooth as U.S. or European highways. There are tolls along this highway but if you travel the entire stretch it will still only cost a few dollars in total.

Many Costa Rican roads are in terrible shape, and short distances can take a very long time. Even the only road in and out of popular tourist destinations are riddled with major potholes. To avoid potholes, drivers will often snake through the left and right lanes, usually returning to the right when oncoming traffic approaches. While this may seem erratic, you can become quickly accustomed to it. If you see a tree branch or pole poking out of the middle of a road, that is a «sign» that there is a deep sinkhole, pothole or manhole without a cover. Stay away from it.

Driving at night is a bad idea because of the unpredictability of road conditions and lack of safety features such as guard rails on the many hairpin turns in the hills. Costa Rica’s per capita traffic death rate is comparable to that of the United States, but there are undeniably many hazards, and they are likely to be unfamiliar ones.

Many roads are unpaved, and even the paved roads have lots of unpaved sections and washed out or unfinished bridges. Bridges are often only wide enough for one vehicle; one direction usually has priority. Do not expect to get anywhere quickly; supposed three-hour journeys can easily turn into five or more hours: there are always slow cars/buses/trucks on the road. This causes a lot of crazy driving, which you begin to emulate if you are in-country for more than a day. The government does not seem to be fixing the infrastructure well (or at all); 50 km/h is good over unpaved roads. Some hotels in the mountains require a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach the destination. Call ahead. This is more for the ground clearance than the quality of the road. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are widely available at the car rentals near the airport, but call ahead.

Navigation can be difficult. Road signs are relatively few, and those that do exist can be inaccurate. It is recommended that you have a good road map with the small towns listed, since road signs will often only indicate the next town, not the direction of the next major city. Towns generally do not have town-limit signs; it is best to look at the names on the roadside food stores and restaurants to determine the place you are passing. Stop and ask, practice your Spanish. The center of town is usually a public park with a Catholic church across from it.

There are no formal street addresses in Costa Rica, but two informal systems exist. The first (often used in tourist information) indicates the road on which the establishment is located (e.g., «6th Avenue»), together with the crossroad interval (e.g., «between 21st and 23rd Streets»). In practice, street signs are virtually non-existent, and locals do not even know the name of the street they are on. The second system, which is much more reliable and understood by locals, is known as the «Tico address», usually involving an oriented distance (e.g., «100 m south, 50 m east») from a landmark (e.g., «the cathedral»).

In the road naming system of San José, avenues run east-west and streets run north-south. The numbering is less straighforward. Starting at Central Avenue going south are 2nd, 4th, 6th Avenue, etc. while going north are 1st, 3rd, 5th, etc. Streets use even numbers going west, and odd numbers going east. This means that if you are at 7th Avenue and 4th Street, and looking for 6th Avenue and 5th Street, you are on the wrong side of town.

Gas stations are full-service and staff usually accept U.S. dollars, and colones, of course. Costa Rica is small so you do not use much gas getting places, even though it can take longer than planned. Costa Rica also has roundabouts, so people from Europe should have no problem, but North Americans should make sure they know how they work. The gas stations really are full-service, and you can have your oil checked, water filled, and tire pressure topped off. The state owns a gasoline company and the private companies raise their prices to the level of the state-set price. It is recommended to always use super gas and not regular; the regular gas is soiled. If you use the «regular» gas, you will have to change the gas filter and clean the injectors after 8000 km (5000 miles).

By bus [ edit ]

There are bus services from the neighboring countries of Panamá, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala.

There is an extensive network of bus routes within the country with reasonable fares. Departures are very punctual, though routes often take longer than expected. Stop by the Tourist Office in downtown San José (underneath the Gold Museum in the Plaza—ask anyone and they’ll be able to help you out). The bus system is a safe and even fun way to see a lot of the country cheaply and not have to worry about car rentals. Getting around without Spanish is no problem.

San José has a remarkably large number of bus stations for a town of its size; bus departure points occasionally change. Make sure to double check the location of the terminal for the bus you want to take.

By boat [ edit ]

The boat that used to run between Los Chiles (Costa Rica) and San Carlos (Nicaragua) hasn’t been running since a new bridge across the Rio San Juan opened.

Small ship cruises carrying fewer than 100 passengers begin in Panama and end in Costa Rica or reverse. These cruises visit popular national parks such as Manuel Antonio but also visit remote beaches and coastline not accessible by road. Prices range from US$2000–6000 per person for 7-10 day tours.


Larger cruise ships occasionally dock or anchor at Puerto Caldera and Puntarenas for a day or so, usually to begin, end or continue cruises with itineraries through the Panama Canal to or from Caribbean or U.S. ports.

Get around [ edit ]

Cope [ edit ]

Although Costa Rica has established official street names in most cities for governmental purposes, most of the population is unaware of these names and if they are known, most streets will lack proper signs stating said names. Asking for directions from a local could result in a tedious and difficult conversation as said directions are given out based on a common or well known building, store, office or other landmark in order to find what you are looking for. As such, you would need to know important landmarks and their locations well enough to be able to get around more easily.

Cien metros or 100 meters, is commonly used to refer to a city «block,» which are usually 100 m, but in some cases could be more or less. However, despite what the exact distance is, many locals tend to use 100 m or a city block when giving out directions.

Navigation and GPS [ edit ]

  • For reliable (offline) maps and comprehensive trails and map information, consult OpenStreetMap, which is also used by this travel gu >Road conditions [ edit ]

For the most part, Costa Rica’s roads are paved but have minimal upkeep. Also, there are many narrow bridges scattered around the country. Exercise caution when traveling during the rainy season as some roads can be washed out or flooded in low-lying areas. If you plan on traveling into the mountainous regions like Monteverde, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicles are strongly recommended. These roads are not paved and can be slick due to the consistent rainfall. Rockfalls and landslides are common and guardrails are sparse. Also, visibility can be low around the cloud forest areas, so use caution.

By bus [ edit ]

Most major tourist destinations in Costa Rica are served by at least two daily buses from and to San José. The advantages of public transportation in Costa Rica are that tickets are cheap (rarely more than US$7 per person) and they cover most towns around the country. However, nearly the entire bus system is based on routes in and out of San José and this can add significant travel time. The buses are also not booked with a reservation system so it is possible to not have a seat on popular routes. However, many do have assigned seats once you buy a ticket at the station and so get there early to be sure you get your bus.

In San José there is no single central bus station, but several different ones, with each station roughly serving a different area of the country, with some exceptions. For example, most of the service to the Caribbean side of the country leaves from the Terminal Gran Caribe. Direct service to the far south Caribbean coast is provided from the Puntarenas bus station, which mostly serves the west side of the country. Still, you can still get to the Caribe side by taking a bus (on the Autotransportes Caribeños‎ line) from the Terminal Gran Caribe to Limón, and then transferring there to another bus south (the Mepe line). In short, do some research beforehand so you don’t get lost looking for your bus. Often you can just call or e-mail your final destination (e.g. your hotel) and they will tell you what bus to take, where to catch it and how often it runs.

Note, buses can be infrequent and unreliable. Instead of waiting for hours for the bus at the highway, you are better off trying to hitch-hike, which is often faster, more economical and more successful. If the bus does come eventually, you can always still take them.

Unfortunately, many bus drivers will try to rip off innocent tourists. Always pretend like you are waiting for change after having given the money. Often they will give you parts of the change searching for the rest. The unsuspected tourist will assume that’s it. But often just waiting does the trick, and you will get the rest. Note, prices between the most important places are always put up above the driver where you can verify them. Rounded ticket prices like ₡1,000 or ₡2,000 should always raise your suspicions. Do not let them fool you, that just worsens the situation for other tourists and the locals. If you simply do not want to put up with that, then just hitch-hike.

By rental car [ edit ]

One great advantage of renting a car is that you can visit many of the secluded beaches and mountain areas. And with the power of the internet, you can now rent just about any vehicle online and have it waiting for you when you arrive.

For US$350-700 a week you can rent an econocar/mid size four-wheel drive. Insurance is the majority of this cost and it is not optional. Four-wheel-drive is good for extensive traveling outside the Central Valley, especially in the wet season. In the dry season going from La Fortuna to Monteverde via a direct route was over a boulder-strewn 25-50 km/h (15-30 mph) road. Four-wheel-drive was also useful on the Nicoya coast. (Above based on 2001 roads.) It’s often possible to rent a car with a local driver from the various tour companies, if driving yourself seems a bit daunting.

Due to the condition of most roads outside San José, car insurance, even with a zero-deductible option, generally does not cover tires and rims. Car rental companies require a guaranty deposit from US$750 during the rental period and a credit card is necessary for this process. Using an insurance program provided by some types of gold or platinum credit cards is a good advantage, since these credit cards would cover small scratches, small dents as well as the entire rented vehicle in case of collision or theft.

You have to exercise caution when renting a car in Costa Rica; where it is not uncommon for rental companies to claim «damage» they insist you inflicted on the vehicle. It is by far the best policy to rent a car through a Costa Rican travel agent. If you are traveling on a package, your agent will sort this out. Otherwise, go into an ICT-accredited travel agent in San José and ask them to arrange rental for you. This should be no more expensive than renting on your own and will help guard against false claims of damage and other accusations; rental companies will be less willing to make trouble with an agent who regularly sends them clients than with individual customers who they may not see again.

Make sure to check the car carefully before you sign off on the damage sheet. Check the oil, brake fluid, fuel gauge (to make sure it’s full) and that there is a spare tire with a good air pressure and a jack. Look up the Spanish word for «scratches» (rayas) and other relevant terminology first, so you can at least scrutinize the rental company’s assessment. Ask them to write down all the minor damages, not just check on the drawing, and keep a copy of this document with you.

Take the maximum insurance (around US$15–20 per day); because of the country’s high accident rate, you need to be covered for damage to the vehicle, yourself, any third party and public property.

By rental motorcycle [ edit ]

For about US$420 a week, depending on the bike and the season, you can rent a dual sport bike or a chopper. A motorcycle rental company requires a guaranty deposit from US$600 during the rental period.

By taxi [ edit ]

Another easy way to get around Costa Rica is to use the services of mini-vans. At most of the hotels, the receptionist is able to assist travelers who want to travel across the country by arranging for the services of a driver. Rates are reasonable (US$29 per person, for example, to get from San José to Tamarindo in April 2007) The drivers know the roads well; the vans are clean and comfortable; and they take you from door to door.

Taxis are available in most large cities. They are usually inexpensive, charging only a few dollars to get most anywhere within the city. The meter is called «la maria«; ask the driver to turn it on immediately upon getting in the car, or he may leave it off and make up his own, more expensive, price when you get to your destination. Also try checking it wasn’t running before you got in, the initial fare shouldn’t be higher than ₡600. Most drivers know familiar routes such as San José to Santa Ana and you can find the rate by asking «Cuanto para ir a _____» and he will tell you the flat rate. This can keep you from paying too much because the driver will not make unnecessary detours. Official taxis are red with a yellow triangle on the side. They also have yellow triangles on the side of the car which will have a number in it. If the number matches the number listed on the license plate, it is an official taxi. Do not get in if the numbers do not match. «Pirate Taxis», though sometimes cheaper, are not safe. Do not risk it. If you are alone, especially. If you are female, ride in the back seat, as riding in the front with the driver can be seen as suggestive. Caution should be exercised when using this service, extra caution. It’s not recommended to ride non-red cabs.

By thumb [ edit ]

Hitch-hiking is far more common in rural areas than in urban areas. In general, it is very easy for tourists, contrary to local people. If you choose to hitch-hike, Costa Ricans are generally very friendly and helpful, particularly in more rural areas where traffic on the dirt roads can be light. It’s customary to offer to pay for the ride, but most Ticos will decline but appreciate the kindness in offering. Don’t worry if they accept, the ride shouldn’t cost more than the bus—otherwise be suspicious and talk your way out of the situation.

By plane [ edit ]

There are two main internal airlines that connect the major tourist towns, Aerobell Airlines and Sansa. You are limited to 11-14 kg (25-30 pounds) of carry-on luggage per person, depending on the airline. Nature Air allows more luggage per person, as their planes are larger and are also twin-engine.

In 2020 Nature Air had a serious accident with all aboard the aircraft dying as a consequence and the loss of the airplane meaning a reduction of their fleet size by 50%. Nature Air has subsequently had all their flights canceled in 2020 and while they claim to be planning to get permission from regulatory authorities, it remains doubtful whether they’ll ever be airborne again. The crash, which also killed American citizens, has led the US to issue a warning against privately chartered airplanes in the region, but as many airlines — including both Nature Air and Sansa — fly broadly similar single engine propeller aircraft seating a dozen or so, the safety concerns seem to apply more broadly, if they apply.

Neither of them will carry a longboard and both limit the number of short surboards they will carry. Be sure to check with airline for current limits on length of boards allowed.

By train [ edit ]

While the train service was closed in 1995, the Incofer (Costa Rican Railway Institute) remained operational and is putting the abandoned rails to use again in the San José metropolitan area. Train service still suffers from decades of neglect and only rarely is a train faster or cheaper than a bus, but new lines and improvements to existing lines (mostly for commuters in and around San José) are planned for the near future. Schedules still mostly show a commuter layout with trains being plentiful in the morning and evening and scant or missing in the middle of the day or at night.

Tickets cost around ₡500 one way with discounts for the elderly

  • Alajuela — Heredia — San José Service
  • Belén — Pavas — San José — Curr >Talk [ edit ]

Spanish is the official and most spoken language in Costa Rica. All major newspapers and official business are conducted in Spanish. English is used widely in most areas, especially those frequented by tourists, and information for visitors is often bilingual or even exclusively in English. Many businesses operated by European proprietors can accommodate guests in Spanish, English and their native languages.

Some Costa Rican colloquial expressions:

  • Mae or sometimes «Maje» is used akin to the American English word ‘dude’. Generally spoken among the male population, or among friends. It is as informal as the word ‘dude’. Mae is mostly used by the younger population and Maje by the older population. It is pronounced ‘maheh’.
  • Pura vida, literally translated as «pure life,» is an expression common to Costa Rica. It can be used in several contexts, as an expression of enthusiasm, agreement, or salutation. It’s pronounced ‘poora veeda’.
  • Tuanis, means «OK» or «cool.» Was believed to be taken from English phrase «too nice», but it is actually a word borrowed from the Código Malespín, a code developed for communication during the various Central American civil wars in the 19th century.

A prevalent version of slang in Costa Rica, and other regions of Latin America, is called «pachuco», «pachuquismo» or «costarriqueñismo» and is used by all social classes (to some degree), however, it can be at times vulgar and is considered an informal way of speaking.

For the word «you», (singular informal form), instead of «tú», most people of the Central Valley use «vos» (as in «vos sos» — you are) which is also common to other Latin nations (Argentina, Uruguay), but the word «usted» is prominent in south Pacific Costa Rica and preferred over «vos». Either way, formal Spanish is understood and you may use any form of the word «you» you consider proper.

Costa Ricans tend to use the term Regálame, literally «gift me», instead of «get me». An example is when a Costa Rican says: «regálame la cuenta», literrally «gift me the bill», which is unusual to other Spanish speaking countries, however, it is a very common Costa Rican term. Another such case might be when Costa Ricans go out to buy something, in which case they might use the term this way: «Regáleme un confite y una Coca«, literally, «Gift me a piece of candy and a Coke», but it is understood that the person asking is going to buy said things and is not expecting the other to gift him or her those things. A more precise phrase in standard Spanish would be: «Me vende un confite y una Coca«, meaning: «Sell me a piece of candy and a Coke».

Limonense Creole (Mekatelyu)

There is also an English-based Creole language spoken in Limón Province on the Caribbean Sea coast of Costa Rica. It is called Limonese Creole or Mekatelyu. This Creole language is essentially a localized form of Jamaican Patois, and is similar to varieties such as Colón Creole, Miskito Coastal Creole, Belizean Kriol language, and San Andrés and Providencia Creole. The name Mekatelyu is a transliteration of the phrase «make I tell you», or in standard English «let me tell you».

See [ edit ]

Wildlife [ edit ]

Costa Rica is world famous for having an incredibly high level of biodiversity throughout its tropical forests (this covers what you may hear referred to as rain forests, cloud forests, and dry forests). There are tropical mammals such as monkeys, sloths, tapirs, and wild cats as well as an amazing assortment of insects and other animals. There are many many birds (both migratory and resident) — more on that below. With 25% of the country being national parks and protected areas, there are still many places you can go to see the abundant wildlife and lush vegetation of the country. Just like anywhere, the farther you get off the beaten path, the more likely you are to see a wide variety of flora and fauna.

There is such biodiversity in Costa Rica not only because it’s a land bridge between North and South America, but also because the terrain is so varied and there are weather patterns moving in from both the Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean. There are impressive volcanoes, mountain areas, rivers, lakes, and beaches all throughout the country. There are many beautiful beaches — most of the popular ones are on the Pacific side but the Caribbean has many excellent beaches as well.

Bird-watching [ edit ]

One of the most wonderful activities for people who love nature is bird-watching. You can enjoy bird-watching in many areas of Costa Rica. Due to the great diversity of climates, temperatures and forest types in Costa Rica, there is a wonderful variety of birds, with over 800 species. Some helpful books available on bird-watching are Birds of Costa Rica by F. Gary Stiles and Alexander Skutch (Cornell University Press) or An Illustrated Field Guide to Birds of Costa Rica, illustrated by Victor Esquivel Soto. These books can be found at certain bookstores in San José or before coming to Costa Rica. They are both heavy books; many people tear out the plates of the Stiles & Skutch book to carry into the field and leave the rest of the book in their car or room. Plastic cards with the most common birds are available for many areas and are sold at gift shops.

Costa Rica’s list of birds includes:

  • 16 species of parrots including the fabulous scarlet macaw.
  • 50 species of hummingbirds.
  • 10 species of trogons with the resplendent quetzal as the jewel.
  • 6 species of toucans, including the keel-billed and chestnut-mandibled.
  • Half the bird species in Costa Rica are passerines including warblers, sparrows and finches.
  • 16 species of ducks, including the fulvous whistling, white-faced ruddy and American wigeon.
  • 13 species of falcons, including the peregrine falcon, merlin and American kestrel.
  • 36 species of prey, including the gray hawk, swallow-tailed kite, solitary eagle and northern harrier.
  • 6 species of cracidae which look like turkeys.
  • 8 species of new world quails.
  • 15 species of rallideas including the rufous-necked wood-rail, American coot and ruddy crake.
  • 19 species of owls including the black-and-white, Costa Rican pygmy, Central American pygmy and striped.
  • 3 species of potoos including the great, northern and common.
  • 16 species of woodpeckers, including cinnamon, chestnut-colored and pale-billed.

The coastal list of birds includes:

  • 19 species of herons & wading birds such as the great blue heron, great egret, boat-billed heron, reddish egret and yellow-crowned night-heron.
  • 2 species of recurvirostraide which are waders and include the black-necked stilt and American avocet.
  • 2 species of jacans including the northern and wattled.
  • 34 species of scolopacidae including the short-billed dowitcher, spotted sandpiper, wandering tattler, surfbird, and red phalarope.
  • 9 species of gulls including the gray, Heermann’s and ring-billed.
  • 14 species of sternidae (terns) including the gull-billed tern, Forster’s tern, least tern and white tern.
  • 4 species of vultures including the king vulture.
  • 24 species of doves and pigeons.
  • 11 species of swifts including the black, spot-fronted and Costa Rican.
  • 6 species of kingfishers including the green, Amazon and American pygmy.
  • 5 species of threskiornithidaes including the roseate spoonbill and white-faced ibis.
  • 2 species of ciconiidae including the wood stork and jabiru.

Good bird-watching spots include:

  • Monteverde Cloud Forest has more than 400 species of birds, including resplendent quetzals.
  • Tortuguero National Park has 300 species of birds.
  • Santa Rosa National Park has more than 250 species of birds.
  • Cahuita National Park has toucans, parrots, rufous kingfishers; the park is on the beach.
  • La Selva Biological Station in the northern lowlands has 420 species of birds.
  • Helconia Island has 228 species of birds.
  • Corcovado National Park has 400 species of birds and 1,200 scarlet macaws.
  • Huedal Nacional Terraba-Sierpe has a myriad of birds along the coast and swamps.
  • Carara National Park has 400 species of birds.
  • Tárcoles has 400 species of birds and great river tours highlighting crocodiles.
  • Whale Marine National Park has frigate birds, boobies, ibises and pelicans.
  • La Amistad National Park has 500 species of birds including resplendent quetzals.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park has 350 species of birds and three lovely beaches.

Most hotels and tourist information centers will provide bird-watching guides, maps and other essentials for bird watching. Unless you are an experienced neotropical birder, it can be a lot more productive to go out with an experienced birding guide. Do not forget to bring a hat, rain gear, boots, binoculars and camera. In hot areas, an umbrella can be more useful than a poncho or jacket. Southern Costa Rica is generally considered the better option for bird-watching.

Volcanoes [ edit ]

Costa Rica is a geologically active nation. Most notable volcanoes are:

  • Arenal, (Spanish: Volcán Arenal): an active stratovolcano with lava domes and daily eruptions near La Fortuna. Note: it has been dormant since 2010.
  • Irazú, (Spanish: Volcán Irazú): an active complex stratovolcano situated in the Cordillera Central close to the city of Cartago. The last eruption was in 1994.
  • Poás, (Spanish: Volcán Poás): an active stratovolcano in central Costa Rica close to Alajuela. It has erupted 39 times since 1828. The last eruption was in 2012.

Do [ edit ]

Beaches [ edit ]

Costa Rica is a country with an extraordinary wealth of things to do, but regardless of your travel interests, you’re going to want to spend time at one of the country’s many great beaches. The Pacific coast’s main beaches are located in the Central Pacific region, the Nicoya Peninsula, and in Guanacaste. Less visited but no less beautiful beaches are located in the tropical rainforest of the southern Pacific coast near Corcovado National Park, or on the exotic eco-tourism paradise of the Caribbean side in Limón Province.

In an overview, the Caribbean region of Costa Rica stands out for its variety of aquatic ecosystems and its beautiful white and black sand beaches, providing an ideal setting for activities such as sport fishing, snorkeling, and sun bathing. The Pacific coast concentrates big tourist centers and its beaches are very popular for surfing; for example Esterillos, Jaco, Hermosa, Boca Barranca. In the Golfito region, surfers can find the famous «long lefthander wave» of Pavones.


Here is a quick list of the country’s biggest and most popular beach destinations, ask the locals to find tiny quiet beaches off the beaten path nearby:

  • Manuel Antonio — one of the best known destinations in Central America, its main feature is a beautiful and tiny National Park with clear water beaches and lots of wildlife
  • Jacó — the «city of surf» of Costa Rica, holds national and international tournaments and it is conveniently located with beautiful wildlife spots such as Carara National Park to the North and Manuel Antonio to the South. Also known for its nightlife and restaurant scene.
  • Corcovado — one of the most diverse and nature dense spots in Costa Rica, the main attraction in the Osa Peninsula, with black sand beaches fronted by the thick Costa Rican tropical rain forest
  • Dominical — surfing destination with a small town and good nightlife scene in the North end of the South Pacific
  • Montezuma — the bohemian option, on the Nicoya Peninsula, full of dreadlocks, surfers, and what you would expect would come along with them (known as «monte fuma» by the locals)
  • Playa Grande — this tranquil white sand beach is home to the largest nesting site for the leatherback sea turtle on the Pacific coast, as well as, one of the best surfing waves in the Guanacaste Province
  • Tamarindo — the upscale option, with beautiful beaches complemented by boutique shopping and high >Rafting [ edit ]

Costa Rica is one of the countries with more rivers per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. Nearly anywhere you go you will find some kind of river trip to enjoy nature from a very unique point of view.

There is a wide variety of exciting rafting trips offered in Costa Rica. For many years, the rafting Mecca of Costa Rica was Turrialba, a large town embedded in the mountains near the Reventazon and Pacuare Rivers, on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica.

However, the Arenal Volcano area is now an increasingly-popular whitewater rafting destination with close access to the Sarapiqui and Toro Rivers, as well as the Class II-III Río Balsa which delight rafting enthusiasts in the Northern slopes of the country.

On the Pacific slope, the river with the largest volume, El General, is famous for multi-day adventures and for being an incredible playground for kayakers. The Coto Brus River is also part of this watershed. Further north, on the central Pacific coast, are the Savegre and Naranjo Rivers. In this area you have the opportunity to enjoy both half-day trips on the Naranjo River and 1-to-2-day trips on the Savegre River.

The Class III-IV Tenorio River near Canas, Guanacaste is a favorite among day-trippers from the beaches of Guanacaste, as well as part of shuttle-tour-shuttle services from the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde to the Guanacaste area. The lower section of the Tenorio River is widely-known for being an excellent nature float trip.

The Pacuare River (Class III-IV) is at the top of the list for 2- or 3-day adventures. If you are interested in similar trips, the Savegre River (Class III-IV) is an excellent alternative for an overnight rafting excursions.

If you want more adrenaline, the Chorro Section (Class IV+) of the Naranjo River, near Manuel Antonio, Quepos is one of the most exhilarating rafting trip of the country. This section is run from December to May.

As for nature-oriented trips, the Peñas Blancas River near the Arenal Volcano provides a great look at the tremendous biodiversity of the country.

Most likely, any of these rafting trips will be the highlight of your active vacations, so don’t miss your chance to paddle one.

Fishing [ edit ]

Costa Rica has some of the best sport fishing in the world and is the first country to practice catch and release fishing. The Pacific side has incredible fishing for Sailfish, Marlin, Dorado, Tuna, Wahoo, Roosterfish, Snapper, and more. The Caribbean side and Northern regions of Costa Rica are famous for big Tarpon and big Snook. Over 64 world-record fish have been caught in Costa Rica. Half-day, full-day and multi-day trips are available. They love to eat turtles.

Surf [ edit ]

Costa Rica has many surfing hotspots. The best time of year to surf is from November to August.

The Pacific coast, particularly in the Central Pacific and Guanacaste, has some of the best surfing in Central America.

In the Guanacaste region, there are several beaches to choose from if you intend to go surfing. Among them, Playa Negra and Playa Grande are two stand out breaks. Playa Negra breaks over a shallow lava reef producing fast hollow waves, for advanced surfers. Playa Grande is the most consistent break in the area with surfable conditions most days of the year. It breaks over a sandy bottom and is good for beginner and experienced surfers. Playa Nosara is another option for beginning to intermediate surfers. Its waves may be a little overwhelming for a complete novice, but for someone who has a beginning grasp on the technique, it is a nice place with a good local scene.

Tamarindo is a good beach to learn how to surf, whilst Playa del Coco offers advanced surfers the chance to surf at Witches Rock and Ollie’s Point. On the Caribbean side there are beautiful beaches, but limited surfing prospects.

The southern Costa Rica area has two very good spots for surf: Dominical and Pavones Beach. Pavones Beach has thick, heavy waves which consistently barrel and can get really big. It’s little known, but picturesque and untamed; definitely not for the light hearted.

In the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Montezuma has one of the most beautiful beach breaks in the area, called Playa Grande. It’s a short eastward walk from Montezuma village. The break is great for all surfers.

Biking [ edit ]

Costa Rica has great mountain biking routes, particularly near Irazu, Turrialba and Arenal Volcanoes. There is popular dirt road that connects Irazu Volcano and the foothills of Turrialba Volcano that is perfect for mountain biking, as it traverses the mountain and presents great views of the Cartago Valley (weather permitting, of course).

The area around Lake Arenal is also a great spot to bike. You can circle the lake in one long day, or break up the ride in two sleeping in Tilarán or Nuevo Arenal. The use of mountain bikes is a must, since the southern shore of the lake is unpaved.

The Nicoya Peninsula also has great riding, particularly the stretch between Sámara, Puerto Coyote and Malpais. There is a coastal road that connects these three beachtowns.

Hiking [ edit ]

Around most volcanos there can be found a decent amount of half to one-day hiking trails.

For proper mountain hiking head to the mountains near San Isidro de General, which are probably the most alpine mountains all over Costa Rica. If you are a keen hiker interested in a Nepal-like feel, head here for some serious adventure. Check out Chirripo National Park.

Golf [ edit ]

Costa Rica is a haven for some of the most lush, tropical golfing environments in the world. At any course, you can expect an ensemble of exotic, indigenous animals, jungle, mountainous terrain, and a surreal, blue ocean painting a brilliant, seclusive experience.

Courses are located in three major areas of Costa Rica: Guanacaste, San José and Mid Pacific. Due to road conditions, you should check the driving times between courses.

There are many tournaments during the year in which any traveller can participate. Most courses offer shoe and club rentals.

Other active and extreme sports [ edit ]

Wind surfing in the Tilarán area is some of the best in the world.

«Canopy tours» or ziplines are very popular tourist activities and are found all over Costa Rica. These typically cost between US$30–50 depending on the company and use a series of zip-lines to travel between platforms attached to the trees, through and over the forest canopy and over rivers. The person is secured with harnesses to the metal cords, as some go very high off the ground. Be sure to ask about the zipline certification before booking and be sure to take part in the safety briefing before participating.

Another form of canopy tour is via an aerial tram which are ski lifts modified for the rainforest. These trams are slower allowing the visitor to view wildlife in the canopy. Each tram has a guide who will explain the flora and fauna. The trams exist at adventure parks near Jaco Beach and just outside Braulio Carrillo National Park and are appropriate for all ages. The trams may be combined with ziplining and often have other attractions such as medicine gardens or serpentaria so guests may learn more about Costa Rica.

Buy [ edit ]

Money [ edit ]

The local currency is the Costa Rican colón (plural, colones) CRC named after Christopher Columbus (whose name was Cristobal Colón in Spanish) sometimes shown locally as ₡ and sometimes shown using the more commonly available U.S. cent symbol ‘¢’ or ₵.

Exchange rates for Costa Rican colones

As of January 2020:

Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE.com

Money exchange is provided at most banks, however it is recommended to do so at the state banks, especially the Banco Nacional, since they have lower rates. There is also a money exchange service at the airport, but it is outrageously expensive. U.S. dollars are commonly used; in the tourist setting, almost everything is priced in U.S. dollars (but sometimes prices are cheaper in colones). When a price is quoted in «dollars», the speaker may be thinking of a dollar as 500 colones; so it is always worth checking whether this is what is meant. When paying with U.S. dollars, you may receive change in local currency; thus, if you are about to leave the country and don’t need colones any more, make sure to have small-denomination U.S. dollar bills.

You can find ATMs in most places. They normally dispense U.S. dollars and colones. With a Visa credit card, you can get money at almost all ATMs. If you have a MasterCard try the ATMs in the AM/PM supermarkets; they give you up to ₡250,000 (about US$500). Another option are the ATH-ATMs but they just give you up to ₡100,000 (about US$200) each transaction. EC-Cards (European) are accepted at all ATMs. The limit is usually set only by the card. In addition, drawing money with your EC-Card will almost always give you a better exchange rate than changing cash in a bank. Around payday, the 15th of the month, ATMs can be emptied of cash, especially in small towns like La Fortuna or Quepos, and some cards may not work.

It is also very common to pay even small amounts by Visa or MasterCard, but much less common with American Express.

You might get a discount (such as between 5% and 10%) when paying in cash, but it is not common enough to be expected. Also, it is not really necessary to get colones at the airport because you can pay everywhere in U.S. dollars and receive colones as change. Most places, except the smallest restaurants, take credit cards and many places including the gas stations take American Express.

Traveller’s checks are rarely used. When using them, unless for hotel nights, change them first at a bank. Expect long delays with traveller’s checks at the bank, lots of stamping, the higher up the official at the bank the more stamps they have.

Shopping [ edit ]

What does it cost?

  • Avocado: ₡3,000/kg
  • Banana: ₡50 per unit
  • Manzana de Aqua: ₡2,000/kg
  • Mango: ₡1,000-1,500/kg
  • Pineapple: ₡400 per unit, often 3 for ₡1,000
  • Papaya: ₡400-800/kg
  • Soda meal: ₡3,000
  • Pizza slice: ₡1,000-2,000
  • Subway «Sandwich of the Day»: ₡1,800, 2 for ₡3,100
  • Dorm bed: ₡7,000-10,000
  • Double: from ₡15,000
  • Beer (330 ml): from ₡600 (1 l ₡1,400)

The most common souvenirs are made from wood. Unless it’s marked as responsible (plantation grown wood), it is most likely not, and may be contributing to the deforestation of Costa Rica – or even Nicaragua or Panama.

Most visitors returning home are not allowed to bring back any raw foods or plants. Accordingly, the single most desirable commodity for visitors to take home may be roasted (not green) coffee, considered by many as some of the world’s best. Numerous web sites explain the fine qualities of various growing regions, types of beans, types of roasting and sources for purchase. Best prices come by purchasing several (sealed) bags of 12 ounces or so. Experts recommend buying whole beans (entero) in any kind of storage; whole beans last longer, and Costa Rican ground coffee often contains sugar, as it is preferred by locals. The stores in San José airport will sell you excellent coffee, but other good quality blends can be found in local supermarkets and direct from the roasters. It can be an expensive but delicious habit. If you’re serious about your coffee, bring at least a partially-empty suitcase and fill it with perhaps a year’s supply (web sites explain how to store it that long). Take care with tourist outlets where small quantities may cost as much as ordering on the internet.

On a shoestring [ edit ]

Costa Rica certainly is not the cheapest country in the world to travel light and budget-oriented. Most national parks and other tourist destinations demand entrance fees, and tours to see the nature and wonders of Costa Rica can easily up to US$100 per day. If you are still keen to travel this country and remain on a low budget, start by solely using bus or hitch-hiking. Buses can be caught into every corner of Costa Rica. Even though, they are not more convenient or faster, they are a good way to experience the authentic local side of Costa Rica. Furthermore, using your thumb on the other hand can be very economical and fast, Costa Ricans and even other tourists are happy taking hitch-hikers along the way—see above. This saves you the expensive car rental that many tourists rely on.

Relying heavily on hitch-hiking, bringing a tent along is a good idea. Otherwise accommodation can be very cheap, especially hostel can be between US$10-15 per bed, the more remote the cheaper. And remote can be good, because you get away from the touristy side of Costa Rica. Also, checkout local accommodation found on GoogleMaps and AirBnB, they are often cheaper than commercial guesthouses and hotels. The same is true for food. Costa Rica is a fruit paradise where you can get you daily dose of vitamins for US$1-2. Else, you can easily rely on sodas (local restaurants) and cooking in the hostels, which are often equipped properly.

Unfortunately, if you want to see and do something in Costa Rica, everything is demanded quite a lot of money for—except for maybe Cahuita National Park. Nevertheless, many sights can have a tourist entrance on one side and a completely free access from another side, using the trails and routes of local people. Or, you might just find a great and free sight right next to that thing that charges US$15, like at Río Celeste. Or, you find an interesting destination off the beaten track that is equally interesting just not (yet) commercialised. Just try finding them, and you will be rewarded. Thus, having a good map like OpenStreetMap with you is essential. OpenStreetMap has comprehensive map details and trails, and is used by this travel guide, and by many mobile Apps like OsmAnd (complex with many add-ons) and MAPS.ME (easy but limited).

For inexpensive hiking checkout the mountains around Orosi and Chirripo National Park. The latter has many local trails that lead into the national park, but it is for experienced hikers. In addition, there many snorkelling and surfing spots along the coasts, which can be for free if your bring your own equipment.

Eat [ edit ]

Costa Rican cuisine can be described as simple but wholesome. The spiciness often associated with Latin America has typically originated in Mexico, most Costa Rican foods are not spicy, but, as they simmer in a large pot, the flavors are blended.

Gallo pinto is a mixture of rice and beans with a little cilantro (fresh coriander) or onion thrown in. While more common at breakfast, it can also be served at lunch or dinner.

Casado, which means married, is the typical lunch in Costa Rica, containing rice and beans with meat, chicken or fish, always served with salad and fried plantain.

Plato del dia, is the ‘Plate of the Day’ and is often a casado, but has the meat or fish selection of the day. Usually around US$5 and includes a natural juice.

Good, fresh fruit is abundant in variety and low in cost. Mercados (markets) provide an excellent place to sample fruit and other Costa Rican fare, with many including sit-down snack bars. You are encouraged to experiment because some of the local fruits do not travel well as they are bruised easily and or have a short shelf life. The mango found in store in North America are much more fibrous and less sweet than the mangos found in Costa Rica. The fingerling bananas are much more creamy and less tart than the ones found in North America.

Be sure to stop off at a rest stop along any of the roads: a casado and beer will cost about US$3.

Don’t forget to try the Salsa Lizano that you will surely find at any restaurant. It is a mild vegetable sauce that has a hint of curry and is slightly sweet. It’s often referred to as Costa Rican ketchup, though many recipes suggest substituting Worcestershire sauce outside Costa Rica. Ticos eat it with almost anything. Bring some home with you. You can find smaller-sized bottles at any market.

Standard breakfast fare is rice and beans, in common with the rest of Central America.

Vegetarians will find it surprisingly easy to eat well in Costa Rica.

Don’t forget to tip tour guides, drivers, bellboys and maids. Restaurant bills include a 10% gratuity but leave an extra tip for good service. North Americans often get better service because they are used to tipping separately, but it’s not necessary.

The beef cattle are raised on grass; the meat will taste differently from corn-fed cattle. The cuts of meat at the local restaurants are also different. The taste of chicken is not discernibly distinct.


Drink [ edit ]

Most places have potable water, so don’t worry about drinking tap water. Bottled water is also available at low prices.

Refrescos are beverages made from fresh fruit (cas, guanabana, sandia/watermelon, mora/blackberry, fresa/strawberry, granadilla/passion fruit), sugar, and either water or milk. All small, cheap diners – known locally as sodas – serve these. You can also easily buy the standard international soft drinks. Fresca, Canada Dry, and the local Fanta Kolita (fruit punch) are recommended.

The national drink is called guaro, which is made from fermented sugar cane. It is similar to vodka, and is usually drunk with water and lemon. It’s not a very «clean» liquor, so exercise caution.

There are around eight national beers available (and most international), which are sold in cans, bottles and even kegs. The most common beers in the country are Pilsen and Imperial: all bars and restaurants serve both. Bavaria, «Bavaria Negra» (dark) and Bavaria Light are considered higher quality but more expensive, Rock Ice and Rock Ice Limón (lemon flavor) has a higher alcohol percentage and is less common in rural areas. Heineken is locally made under license and is more expensive as well.

Ready-to-drink coffee is excellent and considered to be among the best in the world.

Sleep [ edit ]

You can find many places to stay all over Costa Rica, including hotels, aparthotels, condos, vacation rentals, and cabinas. Vacation homes, cabinas, and condos can be less expensive than hotels and provide more flexibility in your adventure to Costa Rica. Costa Rica is known as a world leader for eco and sustainable travel and accommodations are often listed as ‘eco-lodges’. They do tend to be more expensive though the government does have a well functioning certification program. Be careful of so-called «motels.» In Costa Rica as well as much of Latin America this term tends to refer to places more associated with short term stays by couples looking for privacy. The rooms are often rented by the hour.

Apart from the big reservation websites, also checkout GoogleMaps, which has many home stays, guesthouses and such including location, rating and phone number (for WhatsApp). This is generally cheaper than booking online, but always compare.

Learn [ edit ]

You can learn Spanish in Costa Rica. Reflecting the higher living standard, it’s a little more expensive than other countries such as Guatemala, but the education level of your teachers will be much higher.

Costa Rica is a great place to learn Spanish as the «ticos» have a dialect that is easy to understand and digest for someone just starting to learn the language. There are many language schools that provide intensive instruction with group classes lasting four hours per day, Monday to Friday. Almost all Spanish schools will also offer host family accommodations and possibly some alternative such as a student residence or discounted hotel rates.

The key factor is to decide what is the right location for you. Beach locations tend to be on the touristy side so they do not necessarily give the greatest immersion experience, however, there are many Spanish schools near the beach as students like to split their time between studying and activities on the beach, or just relaxing on their time away from work. There is a growing trend of these beach schools also offering surfing or photography classes due to the environment around the school and the proximity to good surf.

Studying in the San José area has many benefits. There is the luxury aspect of city life since it tends to be much more modern than the rustic beach locations. Host families and Spanish schools tend to have nicer facilities.

San José also has fewer tourists so it is great from an immersion point of view as you can practice your Spanish in a setting where people are not automatically switching to English to accommodate foreigners. It is much better that you struggle with your Spanish and force yourself to think in a different language to improve your learning.

Language schools can be found throughout the Central Valley, particularly in Heredia and its surrounding cantons. These typically offer only Spanish to foreign students from the United States and Europe but some, including the Instituto Norte Americano in Heredia, offer Spanish to foreign students, and English and Mandarin to local ones. Many of these language schools are also instrumental in helping the surrounding community, either through monetary donations or educational opportunities that otherwise may not have existed for the local Costa Rican population. Schools such as IAC (Instituto de Apredizaje de Costa Rica) in Manuel Antonio, La Escuela Armonia in Guanacaste, and the Instituto Norte Americano in Heredia have frequently acted as educational hubs for their surrounding communities, giving free English classes to teachers of nearby schools and helping to raise money for worthy causes.

Some hostels offer packages that include Spanish lessons and daily home-stays with the locals (in addition to your room and board).

Costa Rica is also a good place to become proficient in ocean sports like surfing and scuba diving. There are numerous surf shops, that provide surfing lessons and surf camps throughout the coastal areas.

Work [ edit ]

The local newspaper, La Nación, has an extensive jobs listing every Sunday and Monday. You must be a resident or be sponsored by a company to work legally in Costa Rica. ESL teachers can find work in Costa Rica with Bachelor’s Degree and a TESOL certification. ESL teachers can expect to earn ₡226,700-566,750 (monthly) and will usually teach 8–15 hours in a week. Contracts will usually not include accommodations (the employer may help), airfare, and health-care.

Costa Rica is an open business country and investors are always welcome, so if you or your company is interested in founding a new business, or buying a business, it is best to contact a local lawyer.

Volunteering [ edit ]

There are several opportunities to engage in volunteer work in Costa Rica. Projects include turtle conservation, building houses, teaching English, and community development work.

Stay healthy [ edit ]

Costa Rica has one of the highest levels of social care in the world. Its doctors are known worldwide as some of the best. Many people from the U.S., Canada, and Europe go there to be treated, not only because the quality of the service but for the cost. First class hospitals can be found in the capital. There are public and private hospital systems that provide excellent care in each. The public system has much longer waits, while the private system has shorter waits. If you have a very sick child requiring hospitalization, the child will be transferred to the only children’s hospital in Costa Rica, in San José. This children’s hospital is public.

Generally, no shots are needed to get into Costa Rica, but you should bring bug-repellent to keep away mosquitoes and other biting insects and prevent malaria and other similar diseases. There have been outbreaks of dengue fever in some areas of the country and an outbreak of malaria was reported in November 2006 in Limón Province, but just a few cases. Protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, a hat and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. If you are going to be in very rural areas known to be malaria-infested, you might want to consider an anti-malarial medication. However, most travellers to Costa Rica do just fine with updated childhood immunizations and taking preventative measures against mosquito bites (rather than take anti-malarial medication).

Tap water in urban areas of the country is almost always safe to drink. However, being cautious may be in order in rural areas with questionable water sources. Most restaurants have reliable food and water, but stay on the safe side with well-established restaurants and bottled water. Be sure to drink lots, either way.

All fruits and vegetables, such as cabbage or mangoes, should be thoroughly washed.

Stay safe [ edit ]

Travel to Costa Rica is common, with 1.9 million people visiting annually, more than any Latin American country. Still, travellers to Costa Rica should exercise caution. The emergency number in Costa Rica is 911.

  • Traffic in Costa Rica is dangerous. Pedestrians in general do not have the right of way. Roads in rural areas may also tend to have many potholes. Driving at night is not recommended.
  • Use common sense. Do not leave valuables in plain view in a car or leave your wallet on the beach when going into the water. Close the car windows and lock the car or other things that you might not do in your own country.
  • In the cities, robbery at knife point is not uncommon.
  • Buses and bus stops — especially those destined for San José — are frequent locations for robbery. Any bus r >Narcotics [ edit ]

Cannabis traffic, distribution, and commerce is illegal in Costa Rica. There is no penalty when you carry small cannabis quantities for personal use only (up to three joints) and police could try to get money from you or keep you in the local commissary for up to 12 hours. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration personnel are present in Costa Rica and has been known to pretend to be tourists. There is a Costa Rican equivalent of the DEA as well. Do not use illegal drugs in Costa Rica, nor should you try to bribe a police officer.

Prostitution [ edit ]

Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica and can be a destination for those looking for sex on their vacation.

Prostitution with minors (less than 18 years old) is a crime. The majority of sex tourists are from the United States, and if they engage in prostitution with a minor, are prosecutable by the U.S. Protect Act of 2003. This act gives the U.S. government the power to prosecute its citizens who travel abroad to engage in sex tourism with children under the age of 18. Several other countries including France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and Australia have similar laws. Arrests, warrants, and prosecutions are performed under these laws.

Bus travel tips [ edit ]

Below is a list of suggestions for travelling by bus in Costa Rica and neighboring countries. These are overcautious tips, but they can help prevent problems. Nearly all thefts on the bus are preventable.

  • Travel with someone else when possible. A trusted friend is best — not just someone you met last night at the hostel, but he or she will do in a pinch. (Trust your gut feeling with new friends – most are great, but some may be con artists.)
  • Wear a money belt with your passport, cash, credit/debit cards, and ticket (bus or plane). Even if all your other belongings are stolen, you would still be able to get to your next destination. The waist belts are best; a neck pouch can be lifted while you are asleep. A thief would really have to disturb you to steal from a waist belt.
  • On any bus r > Beaches, weather and wildlife [ edit ]

The coasts of Costa Rica are known for strong currents and rip-tides in some areas but most of them are great to be with the family. Costa Rica has some of the best beaches in the world. The Atlantic coast is just five hours from the Pacific coast and both offer different views and landscapes. There are no signs indicating an unsafe beach due to riptides, so take precautions and listen to the locals on where it is safe to swim. The public beaches do not have life guards. A traveller should learn how to swim out of a rip tide and not swim alone. There are some active volcanoes in Costa Rica and they are dangerous, so follow the warning signs posted. The slopes of the Arenal volcano invite visitors to climb closer to the summit, but there have been fatalities in the past with unseen gas chambers. Also be wary of the climate of Costa Rica. It is very hot in the daytime, but in the morning and evening it becomes very cool, so you should bring a light weight jacket.

  • Crocodiles are quite common in certain areas and, although not as dangerous as the Nile or saltwater species, are still considered occasional man-eaters and can grow to lengths of up to 20 feet. The biggest spot for them is the Tarcoles river bridge in the central Pacific, as posted in the Jaco wiki. It is recommended to stop the vehicle nearby and walk across it. Some locals throw chicken meat and watch them eat. Great care should be taken when swimming or snorkelling, especially near areas where fishing is common, or near river mouths.

When you go to the Pacific beaches in Guanacaste, you can see crocodiles over the Tempisque river. The bridge across this river was donated by the Taiwanese government. (Subsequently, China donated a 35,000-seat stadium after Costa Rica ended its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.)

  • While large, the beautiful jaguar is extremely rare and even most locals have never seen the very large predatory cat. They appear to be very shy and elusive; there is very little risk of attack.
  • Sharks are a part of ocean marine life but most pose little danger to people. However, bull sharks and tiger sharks are known to inhabit local waters. Both are known to attack people. Bull sharks can swim in brackish and freshwater, sharing much of the same territory as crocodiles. Actual attacks however are extremely rare. Between 1900 and 2020 there have only been 11 unprovoked attacks on people in Costa Rica, with about half being fatal.
  • Dogs are trained to be protective of property and people (perro bravo), and there are also many strays. Dog bites are not uncommon. Do not approach an unknown dog.
  • Snakes are common in many parts of Costa Rica and it is believed that there are 139 different species. Most are not dangerous, but there are exceptions. The venomous ones generally fall into two groups, the first being coral snakes and the second pit vipers. Coral snakes are easily recognized by their colorful banding. They have small mouths with fangs that are ill placed for biting people. Pit vipers almost always have triangular heads but may otherwise come in different sizes and colors. Most snakes are shy and will avo >Gay and lesbian travellers [ edit ]

Costa Rica is quite a conservative and traditionalist nation. The state’s official religion is Roman Catholicism and its population is quite religious. Nevertheless, it caters to the needs of gay and lesbian travellers. There is a thriving gay scene in San José with many gay and lesbian options for night-life. The Manuel Antonio, Jacó, and Quepos area is also a favorite spot with several gay hotels and bars.

There are a good number of gay/lesbian or gay-friendly accommodations in Costa Rica. They seem to be of the higher quality offering a variety of services and of course, discretion. Many hotels, travel agencies, and resorts are run by gays or are gay-friendly.

Medical tourism [ edit ]

According to the Costa Rica Tourism Board, about 200 medical procedures are performed for medical tourists every month. Among these are cosmetic surgery, knee and hip replacement, cataract removal and other eye treatments, weight loss surgery and dental care. Health care in Costa Rica is attractive for international patients because of the low prices, high care standards, and access to tourist attractions. For example, a hip replacement costs around US$12,000 and a tummy tuck costs around US$4,400.

The main medical tourism centers are CIMA Hospital, Hospital Clinica Biblica, and Hospital Hotel La Catolica. In turn, these hospitals use medical tourism facilitators who can arrange every aspect of your trip from beginning to end.

Connect [ edit ]

The international calling code/country code for Costa Rica is +506.

Sending a postcard to US, Europe or Asia is ₡385, ₡435, or ₡545, respectively. Other mail is becomes more expensive the more it weights.

The primary means of outside contact are through e-mail, SIM cards for unlocked phones, or public pay telephones.

Internet cafes are fairly easy to find in tourist areas, with variation in prices. Some of these offer long distance calls over the internet.

Call pricing [ edit ]

Domestic calls are quite cheap and the price is the same wherever you call, but calls to cellular phones cost significantly more.

International calls are fairly expensive. The cheapest way to make them is over the internet using a service such as Skype at an internet café. But making short international calls using the domestic calling cards (your international call will be short because local calling card denominations are small) or the international calling cards available within Costa Rica (all from the government phone monopoly ICE) is the next best deal, certainly better than credit card calls or using a U.S. calling card.

Public phones [ edit ]

Public phones are accessed with calling cards (tarjetas telefonicas) which can be purchased at most shops, even in outlying areas.

There are four different types of pay-phones:

  • Coin phones. These only accept the older silver-colored coins.
  • Chip phones. These allow you to insert a chip-type calling card and make your calls.
  • Colibri phones. These have a small swipe bar for a scratch-off type calling card referred to as a Colibri calling card which are available from ₡500 and up. The swipes often don’t work — you have to enter the calling card access code on the keypad. Despite this, the Colibri card is the recommended one as you can use it at any of the types of phones, whereas you must find a chip phone when using a chip card.
  • Multipago (multi-pay) phones. These phones accept coins, chip cards, and colibri cards. Most public phones around the country have been changed to multipago. They also allow you to send SMS messages and e-mails.

Both types of calling cards are typically available in pharmacies and other locations where you see the sticker on the door.

Mobile phones [ edit ]

SIM cards and frequencies [ edit ]

Bring an unlocked quad or multi band cell phone that works on the proper frequencies and get a SIM card, which can be bought on almost any corner. Costaricans refer to mobile phones as celulares (cell phones).

Costa Rica cell phone frequencies and carriers:

  • Kölbi: (Part of Grupo ICE, the state run and owned public corporation which provides electricity and telecommunications services.) Kölbi has great coverage but a lot of users, which means that you will have connection all around the country but not the best internet speed.
    • GSM/2G: 1800Mhz
    • UMTS/HSDPA/3G: 850Mhz
    • 4G LTE: 2600Mhz
    • Extra configuration:
      • Internet: APN:kolbi3g, or you can send an SMS with the word «internet» to phone number 3001.
      • Multimedia SMS: Send an SMS with the word «multimedia» to phone number 3001.


  • Claro: Second best coverage in the country, on a not-so-saturated network. Signal can be difficult to get in some remote areas, but not in the Central Valley.
    • GSM/2G: 1800Mhz
    • UMTS/HSDPA/3G: 900Mhz, 2100Mhz
    • 4G LTE: 1800Mhz
  • Movistar:
    • GSM/2G: 1800Mhz
    • UMTS/HSDPA/3G: 850Mhz, 2100Mhz
    • 4G LTE: 1800Mhz

There are a few other second-tier carriers which are just re-sellers or re-branders of the previous three.

There are many plans to choose from, but on a short visit your best chance is to get a pre-paid plan, or prepago which is contract-free and you pay in advance what you will use. All of the carriers have such plans in a lot of possible combinations on minutes, SMS text messages, internet speed and so on. You can even you can build your own plan with some carriers. Prices start at around ₡2,500 (US$5).

To add value you buy a recarga (recharge card), scratch off the card to get a PIN, and text the PIN from your phone to a special number. To keep the card active, it must be recharged at least once in a 120 day period. If it is not charged within a 120 days, you have a 30-day grace period before your SIM chip is deactivated and you lose your phone number. Also keep in mind that you may have trouble getting your SIM activated on Sunday, because like many things in Costa Rica, the SIM activation system may be shut down that day. Not all shops sell SIMs — many just sell the recharge cards. You can buy a SIM at the airport upon arrival.

Roaming [ edit ]

Grupo ICE through Kölbi is the major network on which roaming will occur if using a mobile plan from abroad. Using roaming plans depends on the contract acquired abroad and beyond the scope of this guide.

WiFi [ edit ]

Most tourist areas (hotels, coffee shops, bars, restaurants) have free Wi-fi access. Just ask for the password. You can bring your smart phone loaded with Skype or WhatsApp and make calls to your home country. It is an easy way to stay connected with e-mail and social media.

o_l_g_a_r_i

Моя Дания и другие страны.

Поездка это состоялась 2 с лишним года назад. Маршрут был таким. Сначала Коста Рика — Сан Хосе, Монтеверде, Ареналь, карибское побережье — Плайя Коклес(недалеко от Вьехо). Затем Панама — Бокас дель Торо, Панама Сити. В общей сложности — около 3 недель.
Нам там ужасно понравилось и до сих пор считаю эту поездку одной из самых лучших. Одно «но» — там накрылась с концами камера (была не зеркалка, а обычная цифровая), потом часть фото восстановили, но примерно пол-поездки снимали видеокамерой, которая для фотографирования и не приспособлена — отсюда качество фотографий(((.

Потом оказалось, что не только у меня камера сдохла — там это у очень многих случается — из-за влажности. Поэтому имейте это в виду. Камеру желательно держать в непромокаемых пакетах и просушивать время от времени. Не саму камеру, а хотя бы ремень — уже влагу понизит. Это мне потом уже посоветовали(((. Фото с флешки я потом частично восстановила в ателье — это на всякий случай тем, кто попадет в мою ситуацию))).

И еще несколько чисто практических моментов.
1) Воду пили в Коста Рике из-под крана. Нам посоветовали люди, живущие там дауншифтерами, из Европы, они все сами эту воду там пьют. На вкус как из бутылок. Бутылочная вода недорогая, но таскаться с ней не хотелось. Проблем с желудком не было никаких)))

2) Комары. Мы ездили без каких-либо прививок и таблетки от малярии тоже не пили. Сразу по приезду в Сан Хосе купили репелент с 25 DEET. Ни разу укушены не были. В Монтеверде и в Аренале комаров не видели, сеток на окнах не было. Но когда ходили в дождевые или облачные леса, то брызгались — на всякий случай. На побережье сетки на окнах были, но комаров тоже не видели. По вечерам всегда ходили «набрызганными».
Но там надо все же поосторожнее — на других я видела явные «доказательства» их, комаринной, деятельности(((
Всяких там разных блох и других ужастиков тоже не заметили. Скорпионов тоже ни одного не видели. Хотя я про них и наслышана была перед поездкой — вытряхивала, как ненормальная, каждое утро свою обувь))).

3) Чаевые. Не только горничные и официанты, но и гиды тоже ожидают «благодарности» за свою работу. Слышала раздражение европейцев по этому поводу, но там в основном американские туристы и система чаевых наверное идет от них. Давать чаевые или нет дело личное, никто из обслуживающего персонала не обидится, но раз так заведено, то я думаю, это часть их заработка и не хотелось бы их лишать этого.

4) На обратной дороге у нас было 3 часа в Атланте и мы все-таки съездили в центр города и походили немного по магазинам))). Аэропорт Атланты СУПЕР-удобный, прохождение контроля занимает какие-то минуты, переезд из одного терминала в другой — макс.5 мин., а на регистрацию у Дельты можно приходить за 45 минут. От центрального входа аэропорта идут поезда — 15 мин. и вы в центре города. Так что если у вас аллергия на вокзалы(как у меня) — то смело отправляйтесь погулять в город)))
Я в конце отчета обязательно напишу подробнее как туда быстрее доехать.

5) Решила еще по ходу отчета остановиться немного на описании отелей, в которых мы останавливались. Может кому пригодится. Мы перед поездкой немного сомневались в выборе отелей. Обычно, в пределах Европы, у меня нет нет особо больших претензий к отелям. Однако в экзотические страны стараемся выбирать что-то поприличнее (не менее 4-5). Но наш туроператор посоветовал отели среднего класса и мы согласились(его доводы показались убедительными). И скажу честно — мне выбор отелей нашего туроператора очень даже пришелся по душе, за исключением только одного отеля на карибском побережье Коста Рики. Вывод(ИМХО) — сочетание «цена-качество» отелей Центральной Америки лучше, чем скажем в Европе.

6) Мне лично показалось очень важным подобрать правильную одежду и обувь для поездки! Я еще до отъезда долго мучала всех на одном туристическом форуме и мне дали много хороших советов. Если коротко — то во-первых берите такую одежду, что быстро сохнет(даже лучше купить специальную в тур.магазине), и такую обувь, что тоже быстро сохнет и легко моется. Там ОЧЕНЬ влажно. Если переезжаете с места на место, останавливаясь по 3-5 дней(как мы), то надо отдавать вещи в стирку сразу по приезду в отель — у нас было пару раз так, что бегали искали наши вещи в последний день, они там сильно не торопятся с этим. И еще там местами(в Монтеверде в особенности) очень грязно, поэтому нужна вторая пара непромокаемой или легко-стираемой обуви. Если нужно — я пошлю фото того, что я брала с собой, мне все очень пригодилось))).

Ну а в общих чертах вывод такой.
Коста Рика — самая, с моей точки зрения, приемлимая страна для дауншифтинга или ретаймента. Можно, например, жить в центре страны, где довольно приятный климат, и на пару часов ездить поплавать на побережье. Сервис, в целом, на уровне Европы, в отелях как-то все функционировало, организация нашего тура с костариканской стороны прошла без единой осечки. По стране очень удобно путешествовать по многим причинам — гиды и персонал отелей говорят на очень приличном английском — и за туры, и в ресторанах, везде можно было расплачиваться картами. Что касается долларов, то лучше брать не очень крупными купюрами — сдачу дают в колонах. Особенно хочется отметить доброжелательность местного населения и их готовность помочь и объяснить. В этом плане остались только супер-положительные впечатления. Очень остались довольны едой — и рыбой и стейками!

Панама — Сочетание пляж Визард + отель, в котором мы жили на Бокас дель Торо — в моем личном рейтинге пляжей однозначно занимают первое место. Это просто дрим. Туда надо ехать сейчас, пока эти места не «обнаружили». Я еще нигде не видела таких суперских пляжей и совершенно без людей. В том смысле, что зачастую мы были вообще одни на острове. Панамский канал не вызвал, по сути, ах-эмоций, но почему-то было очень интересно. так как оказалось, что я себе это представляла по-другому.

Ну а теперь о самой поездке подробнее.
1.Сан Хосе. Там мы только ночевали. Там все так делают, так как считается, что в городе делать абсолютно нечего. Мы жили в центре города и утром встали рано и немного погуляли по центру. Город никакого впечатления не произвел. Грязноватый конечно, но не грязнее многих других городов в том регионе. Немного похож на районы Гаваны(не самые замызганные впрочем). В центре пара парков, около нас был какой-то «испанский» парк(там так было написано), несколько типичных соборов. Короче — можно и не заезжать туда.
Вот несколько фотографий оттуда.

Cheap Panama Canal Cruises

Panama Canal Cruises Found

Cheap Panama Canal Cruises

On a cruise through the Panama Canal, one of the most exciting moments will surely be passing through the canal itself. Passengers can watch from their balcony or the deck as the ship lines up behind freighters, tankers, and other cruise ships passing through and is then raised and lowered through the canal using gravity alone. On either side of the Canal, ships stop in sunny destinations like Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Aruba, and Mexico. Most cheap cruise vacations that include the Panama Canal are at least 10 nights, with some lasting up to several weeks, so you’ll have plenty of time to visit multiple tropical destinations.

Most discount Panama Canal vacations sail during the winter and spring, between November and April. Many cruises depart from California or Florida, though some end all the way in Vancouver. Along the way, you can visit ports in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Jamaica, and more. Some cruises also make a stop in Gatun Lake for an eco-safari into the jungle, which has been largely untouched to this day. If you’re looking to start and end in the same place, Princess Cruises offers round-trip cruises from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or Los Angeles, California.

Month Number of Cruises From Price
Nov 2020 15 cruises $529
Dec 2020 42 cruises $479
Jan 2020 52 cruises $754
Feb 2020 20 cruises $849
Mar 2020 22 cruises $499
Apr 2020 11 cruises $549
May 2020 6 cruises $679
Jul 2020 2 cruises $4,299
Sep 2020 3 cruises $589
Oct 2020 21 cruises $579
Nov 2020 21 cruises $939
Dec 2020 21 cruises $834
Jan 2021 34 cruises $839
Feb 2021 15 cruises $814
Mar 2021 17 cruises $829
Apr 2021 14 cruises $1,179
May 2021 4 cruises $779
Aug 2021 1 cruises $5,319
Sep 2021 2 cruises $799
Oct 2021 5 cruises $999
Nov 2021 2 cruises $719
Dec 2021 2 cruises $9,199
Jan 2022 4 cruises $729
May 2022 1 cruises $5,085
Aug 2022 2 cruises $4,197
Sep 2022 1 cruises $6,247
Nov 2022 3 cruises $2,440

Zuiderdam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Cay, Oranjestad, Willemstad (Curacao), Cartagena.

11 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from
10 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Zuiderdam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Cay, Oranjestad, Willemstad (Curacao), Cruising the Panama Canal.

10 Night Panama Canal with Costa Rica and Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Caribbean Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Falmouth, Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Cristobal, Puerto Limon.

10 Night Panama Canal with Costa Rica and Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Crown Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Cristobal.

15 Night Panama Canal Ocean to Ocean Cruise from Los Angeles Duration Priced from

Emerald Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Los Angeles, California, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Los Angeles, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas, Fuerte Amador.

11 Night Panama Canal from Miami Cruise Duration Priced from

Norwegian Pearl
Norwegian Cruise Line

Starting Port: Miami, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Miami, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Miami, Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Colon, Puerto Limon, Roatan, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya.

10 Night Panama Canal with Costa Rica and Caribbean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Island Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Cristobal.

16 Night Panama Canal Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Rotterdam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: San Diego, California, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Cay, Oranjestad, Cruising the Panama Canal, Puerto Caldera, Corinto.

15 Night Panama Canal Ocean to Ocean Cruise from Los Angeles Duration Priced from

Emerald Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Los Angeles, California, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Los Angeles, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco, San Juan del Sur, Puntarenas, Fuerte Amador.

8 Night Panama Canal from Tampa Cruise Duration Priced from

Carnival Legend
Carnival Cruises

Starting Port: Tampa, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Tampa, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Tampa, Puerto Limon, Cruising the Panama Canal, Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Tampa

17 Night Panama Canal Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Zaandam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: San Diego, California, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Oranjestad, Cruising the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador, Puerto Caldera, Corinto.

16 Night Panama Canal Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Rotterdam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: San Diego, California, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Cay, Oranjestad, Cruising the Panama Canal, Puerto Caldera, Corinto.

9 Night Panama Canal from Galveston Cruise Duration Priced from

Carnival Radiance
Carnival Cruises

Starting Port: Galveston, Texas, United States
Ending Port: Galveston, Texas, United States

Ports of Call: Galveston, Cozumel, Puerto Limon, Cruising the Panama Canal, Galveston

15 Night Panama Canal Ocean to Ocean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Coral Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador, Puntarenas, San Juan del Sur.

14 Night Panama Canal from Galveston Cruise Duration Priced from

Carnival Freedom
Carnival Cruises

Starting Port: Galveston, Texas, United States
Ending Port: Galveston, Texas, United States

Ports of Call: Galveston, Ocho Rios, Oranjestad, Bonaire, Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Puerto Limon.

12 Night Picturesque Panama Canal Costa Rica and Cartagena from Miami Cruise Duration Priced from

Norwegian Encore
Norwegian Cruise Line

Starting Port: Miami, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Miami, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Miami, Willemstad (Curacao), Oranjestad, Santa Marta, Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Colon.

11 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Eurodam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Cay, Oranjestad, Willemstad (Curacao), Cartagena.

10 Night Panama Canal Sunfarer Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Eurodam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Half Moon Cay, Oranjestad, Willemstad (Curacao), Cruising the Panama Canal, Colon.

180 Night Around the World in 180 Days Cruise from Miami Duration Priced from

Insignia
Oceania Cruises

Starting Port: Miami, Florida, United States
Ending Port: San Francisco, California, United States

Ports of Call: Miami, Key West, Cruising the Straits of Florida, Cruising the Caribbean Sea, Santa Marta.

$39,799

41 Night Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Volendam
Holland America Line

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Cruising the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador, Manta.

19 Night Panama Canal Pacific Adventure Cruise from Los Angeles Duration Priced from

Coral Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Los Angeles, California, United States
Ending Port: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ports of Call: Los Angeles, Huatulco, Puerto Chiapas, Puerto Quetzal, Cruising the Panama Canal, Puntarenas.

16 Night Panama Canal Explorer Ocean to Ocean from Miami Cruise Duration Priced from

Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line

Starting Port: Miami, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ports of Call: Miami, Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Oranjestad, Cruising the Panama Canal, Puerto Caldera.

16 Night Panama Canal Explorer Ocean to Ocean from Los Angeles Cruise Duration Priced from

Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line

Starting Port: Los Angeles, California, United States
Ending Port: Miami, Florida, United States

Ports of Call: Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Quetzal, Puerto Caldera.

15 Night World Cruise Segment Panama Canal (Connoisseur) Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Pacific Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Oranjestad, Cruising the Panama Canal, Quepos, Puerto Chiapas, Cabo San Lucas.

15 Night Panama Canal Ocean to Ocean Cruise from Fort Lauderdale Duration Priced from

Island Princess
Princess Cruises

Starting Port: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Ending Port: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ports of Call: Fort Lauderdale, Cartagena, Cruising the Panama Canal, Fuerte Amador, Puntarenas, San Juan del Sur.

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Costa Rica & the Panama Canal

Nowhere else in the world can you find a concentration of wildlife like that of Central America – in particular Costa Rica and Panama. Costa Rica alone has over 840 identified species of birds and with over a quarter of the country identified as national parks, these protected areas are a naturalist’s dream. Famous for its man-made canal, Panama is also home to 940 avian species, as well as 125 mammal species endemic to this country. RCGS Resolute is the ideal vessel to explore this region due to its large outdoor deck areas and multiple, panoramic viewing platforms.

Our adventure begins in San Jose, Costa Rica, where we will meet at a central location before transferring to Puerto Caldera on the coast. From the Nicoya Peninsula we will work our way south, visiting four different national parks or protected areas. Our small ship gives us unprecedented access to the colorful bays and hidden coves of this lush, tropical coastline. When RCGS Resolute drops anchor, we’ll launch our Zodiacs, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards, so you can explore even further in small, guided groups. You will also be able to explore on foot, hiking the trail network of the parks, snorkeling or strolling along the white sandy beaches.


After a week we will leave this tropical paradise and head for Panama City, journeying down one of the modern wonders of the world — the Panama Canal. The penultimate day of our voyage will be spent traveling from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, through the 100-year old canal. We will end our voyage in Colon, Panama.

Expedition Highlights
• Explore the protected national parks of Costa Rica & Panama
• Hike through rugged rainforests learning about the many endemic wildlife species
• Enjoy this tropical paradise in a Zodiac, kayak or on a stand-up paddle board
• Travel through the Panama Canal – one of the modern wonders of the world

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 San Jose, Costa Rica
Day 2 Nicoya Peninsula & Curu National Wildlife Refuge
Day 3 Manuel Antonio National Park
Day 4 Osa Peninsula & Corcovado National Park
Day 5 Osa Peninsula & Golfito Bay
Day 6 Coiba Island & Golfo De Montijo, Panama
Day 7 Pearl Islands, Panama
Day 8 Panama City, Panama
Day 9 Panama Canal, Panama
Day 10 Colon, Panama

Tour Dates

Day 1 — San Jose, Costa Rica

We will start our journey with a visit to Doka Estates, one of the largest coffee and sugarcane plantations in Costa Rica. This family-owned business will offer a taste of history as we learn more about the various stages of coffee processing and how the oldest Wet-mill found in Costa Rica plays a part. Following our tour, we will transfer two hours west to Puerto Caldera. Here we will meet our vessel, head aboard and settle into our rooms. Tonight, we will enjoy dinner and then migrate to the deck, reveling in the first of many tropical sunsets. RCGS Resolute will make a short sail across the Gulf of Nicoya to anchor off the Nicoya Peninsula, ready for the next day’s adventures.

Day 2 — Nicoya Peninsula & Curu National Wildlife Refuge

Today we will explore the Curu National Wildlife Refuge which is nestled at the southeast tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. From a gentle walk along the well-established trails in the heart of the park, to a more challenging hike — there are several ways to explore this national treasure and its diverse wildlife. The refuge hosts one of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula and has spearheaded many successful sustainable development programs, from reintroducing the near-extinct spider monkey, to the coral reef restoration project and migratory bird monitoring. A stop at Isla Tortuga, or Turtle Island is sure to delight with its white sand beaches and inviting water. You will see how its rock formations resemble the marine creatures that provide the Island with its name. We may be in luck and catch a glimpse of the turtles while enjoying snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding in the ocean.

Day 3 — Manuel Antonio National Park

Our adventure continues in the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the smallest yet most visited national parks in Costa Rica. Boasting over 100 species of mammals, 184 species of birds and a plethora of diverse flora, this park is a wildlife lover’s dream. Keep your eyes peeled for two and three toed sloths, white-faced monkeys and toucans as you explore the entanglement of trails weaving through the park. The network of hiking trails crisscross the parkland, providing access to its rainforest, white sand beaches, waterfalls and coral reefs. You may also catch a glimpse of the dramatic volcanic rock formations, Punta Cathedral and Punta Serrucho, from several of the beaches that line the Manuel Antonio National Park.

Day 4 — Osa Peninsula & Corcovado National Park

Extending into the sea at the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, the Osa Peninsula is rich with both wildlife and history. This is the first of two days in one of the country’s most remote destinations and we once again take advantage of our coastal access to explore the ‘Parque Nacional Corcovado’. Almost half of the peninsula is devoted to the park which protects an incredible variety of wildlife, including Costa Rica’s largest population of jaguars and tapirs. The park is also home to the only remaining old-growth wet forest on the Pacific coast of Central America, all four of the country’s monkey species: howler, spider, white-faced capuchin and squirrel, 20 species of hummingbird, the endemic yellow-billed cotinga and black-cheeked ant tanager, crimson fronted parakeets, and more. Should the conditions be favorable, kayak or paddle board through the expansive tangled mangroves as the wildlife thrives around you.

Day 5 — Osa Peninsula & Golfito Bay

On the second day on the Osa Peninsula we plan to cross into Golfito Bay, a small gulf surrounded by steep, forested hills. We will venture into the town of Golfito, originally famed for its position as the principle banana port for the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica. Decline in the industry due to labour disputes and rising production costs moved the company’s holdings out of town — now Golfito is best known for its ecological efforts and is Costa Rica’s only city situated in a declared protected area. Mere steps out of town, the Golfito Wildlife Refuge offers an opportunity to hike through tropical forests with trees reaching nearly 150 ft (45 m) tall. While hiking along one of the many trails, be on the lookout for one of the thousands of species of mammals, birds and reptiles that call the refuge home.

Day 6 — Coiba Island & Golfo De Montijo, Panama

As we bid farewell to Costa Rica, our first stop in Panama is Coiba Island, a place with an unusual history. Having separated from the mainland an estimated 15,000 years ago, Coiba is now home to many endemic subspecies, such as the Coiba Island howler monkey and the Coiba spinetail. In 2005, Coiba National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to numerous native flora that have since become extinct on the mainland of Panama due to deforestation. This is one of the last places in Central America where the scarlet macaw can still be found in sizable numbers. If time permits, we may have the opportunity to sail to near-by Granito De Oro, which is a top snorkeling location due to the diversity and volume of marine life. In the afternoon we explore the famous wetlands of the Golfo de Montijo, whose 50,000 acres of mangroves are home to a staggering abundance of wildlife. We cruise the shoreline of the gulf with our cameras and binoculars poised, ready to view the wetlands that are teaming with waterfowl and wading birds.

Day 7 — Pearl Islands, Panama

We have now entered the Gulf of Panama, but before we head for the Panamanian mainland, we make one more island-hopping stop at the Pearl Islands, or as locals refer to it, Islas de las Perlas. This archipelago of more than 250 islands received its name from Spanish Conquistadors who found countless pearls when they visited the islands in 1503. Most famous for their deserted white sand beaches, fragile ecosystems and marine life, the islands also made a splash when they were featured as the location for the `Survivor’ television series.

Day 8 — Panama City, Panama

After a week of exploring the remote tropical coastline and far-flung islands, we trade our flip-flops for walking shoes today as we venture into the cityscape of Panama City. Steeped in rich Spanish history, its cobblestoned historic center, Casco Viejo, is framed by colonial era landmarks such as the Presidential Palace and Metropolitan Cathedral. Be sure to enjoy an espresso or mojito in one of the many cafés shaded by bougainvillea in Panama’s old quarter. For those in search of a cultural experience, the numerous museums, including the Museum of Biodiversity, designed by Frank Gehry, is an experience every architectural fan should check off their bucket list. If you are looking for a quintessential Panamanian Hat or a mola made by the Guna Indians in the San Blas Islands, then the markets are a must see. Head to the fish market for a tasty snack or the National Handicraft Market if pottery, molas and jewelry handcrafted by the indigenous people of Panama is more your style.

Day 9 — Panama Canal, Panama

With our cups full of the cultural experiences of Panama City, today we sit back and let the history come to us. Spending the better part of the day (8+ hours) moving though the 77km Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, we will pass under the Bridge of the Americas before entering the Miraflores Locks. The locks will then take us up to Miraflores Lake, then up again to Gatun Lake, before being lowered back down to the sea level of the Caribbean Sea. You will not simply watch this incredible feat of engineering, you will have the opportunity to experience it first-hand. With the crossing completed, we will then anchor near the city of Colon to enjoy our final dinner together attended by the captain of the ship and toast our adventures.

Day 10 — Colon, Panama

After breakfast, it is time to bid farewell to your crew and fellow travelers as we disembark RCGS Resolute. A transfer back to Panama City is provided for all guests and while some of us will travel to the airport, many may wish to add a few extra days to explore more of the masterpiece that is Panama City.

Route Map

* Itinerary may be subject to change

Santiago ✈ Falklands ✈ Santiago

Per Person USD
Rates Antarctica 2020-20
$11,295 Full $12,995 Full $14,095 Full $14,395 Full $15,395 Limited $17,795 Full $995
$11,295 Full $12,995 Full $14,095 Full $14,395 Full $15,395 Full $17,795 Full $995
$12,695 Full $13,595 Full $14,795 Full $15,195 Full $16,095 Full $18,295 Full $995
$21,195 Full $25,595 Full $26,995 Full $27,395 Full $28,795 Full $29,995 Full $495
$13,695 Full $14,995 Full $16,195 Full $16,695 Full $17,795 Full $20,195 Full
$14,095 Full $15,495 Full $16,495 Full $16,795 Full $17,895 Full $22,095 Full
$16,395 Full $18,095 Full $18,295 Full $19,695 Full $20,995 Full $25,995 Full $495
$13,695 Full $14,995 Full $16,195 Full $16,695 Full $17,795 Full $20,195 Full $995
$11,295 Full $12,995 Full $14,095 Full $14,395 Full $15,395 Full $17,795 Full $495
$6,495 Full $7,995 Full $8,295 Full $8,695 Full $8,995 Full $11,195 Full
$4,195 Full $5,495 Full $6,095 Full $6,395 Full $7,395 Full $8,995 Full

Rates are per person, based on twin-share.

The Single supplement is 1.5x the published twin rate for Twin & Superior Cabins.
Single supplement is 2x the published twin rate for suites.
Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.
No single supplement applies for passengers willing to share in Twin & Superior Cabins.

Costs for standard adventure options: Photography — Free of charge, Photography Symposium (Nov 7th) has limited availability so please pre-book, Snowshoeing — Free of charge, Camping — Free of charge (limited to 80 participants, pre-booking advised), Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 30 participants) – $795.
Please note — camping is less likely to happen on the longer voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica itinerary or on March voyages. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

Punta Arenas — Falklands
Falklands ✈ Santiago

Per Person USD
Rates Antarctica 2020-21
$18,195 Full $20,695 Full $21,995 Full $22,495 Full $24,795 Full $27,295 Full
$21,795 Full $25,295 Full $26,295 Full $26,995 Full $29,495 Full $32,595 Full
$15,095 Full $15,995 Full $17,195 Full $17,695 Full $18,595 Full $20,895 Full
$16,295 Full $17,395 Full $18,695 Full $19,195 Full $20,195 Full $22,695 Full
$15,095 Full $15,995 Full $17,195 Full $17,695 Full $18,595 Full $20,895 Full
$22,895 Full $25,495 Full $26,495 Full $27,095 Full $29,595 Full $32,795 Full
$17,995 Full $19,595 Full $21,095 Full $21,695 Full $23,095 Full $25,995 Full
$14,195 Full $16,295 Full $17,595 Full $17,995 Full $19,295 Full $22,195 Full
$11,795 Full $13,595 Full $14,695 Full $14,995 Full $16,095 Full $18,595 Full
$11,795 Full $13,595 Full $14,695 Full $14,995 Full $16,095 Full $18,595 Full
$6,895 Full $8,395 Full $8,695 Full $9,095 Full $9,495 Full $11,695 Full
$4,395 Full $5,695 Full $6,395 Full $6,595 Full $7,695 Full $9,395 Full

Rates are per person, based on twin-share.

The Single supplement is 1.5x the published twin rate for Twin & Superior Cabins.
Single supplement is 2x the published twin rate for suites.
Single supplement is not available in triple cabins.
No single supplement applies for passengers willing to share in Twin & Superior Cabins.

Costs for standard adventure options: Photography — Free of charge, Photography Symposium (Oct 8th) has limited availability so please pre-book, Snowshoeing — Free of charge, Camping — Free of charge (limited to 80 participants, pre-booking advised), Overnight Camping – $300, Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 30 participants) – $795 (Chilean Fjords $495), Ski Touring (experience necessary) – $750. Camping is not offered on Chilean Fjords.
Please note — camping is less likely to happen on the longer voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica itinerary or on March voyages. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.

All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

Panama vs. Costa Rica: Which Meets Your Must-Have Criteria?

For would-be expats looking to relocate to Central America, Costa Rica and Panama are natural front runners.

And for good reason.

Located adjacent to one another at the southernmost end of Central America, the two are quite similar in many ways. Both consistently top the lists of best places to retire in Latin America, and the world for that matter.

They both boast amazing vistas, near-perfect climates, modern amenities with a low cost of living, excellent health care, and some really great options for how you can spend your free time. However, there are a few areas where one nation has a slight advantage over its neighbor.

While many areas of consideration depend largely on personal preference, we lined up Panama vs. Costa Rica in a head-to-head cage match to see which one comes out on top.

Use the Infographic on Your Own Site

Round #1: Lifestyle Hacks

Advantage: Costa Rica

Both Panama and Costa Rica offer the opportunity to simplify your life by hiring out a number of services that, quite frankly, you’d just rather not have to do on your own. You can easily enlist the help of a gardener, a driver, a tutor for your children, or even a full-time maid who cleans your house, buys your groceries, does your laundry, and prepares your meals six days a week (for less than $15 per day).

While the costs are fairly close, domestic help can be a bit more expensive in Costa Rica. Why’d we pick it as the winner if it’s the more expensive of the two? Easy.

When comparing Panama vs. Costa Rica, Costa Rica has a much more customer-oriented service culture. So, while you may pay a few more dollars per day for domestic help in Costa Rica, the extra money is totally worth it in terms of the quality of personal service you’ll receive.

Round #2 – Connectivity

Winner: Panama by a Landsl >Due in part to a long-standing U.S. military presence, Panama is one of the most connected countries in Latin America. Broadband internet service is available in most cities and is very affordable. There are also numerous free wi-fi hotspots nationwide.

In fact, Panama was recently named #2 in all of Latin America for technology and internet penetration. It also earned the #1 spot for wireless availability. That’s why so many multinational companies like Dell, 3M, and Philips are choosing to establish regional headquarters there.

By contrast, Costa Rica is light years behind its Central American neighbors in terms of internet speed. Although its average connection speed has increased 43% percent in the past year, it’s still only 2.1 megabytes per second. (Streaming a movie requires 1.5 Mbps, or 4 Mbps in high definition.)

Round #3 – Living Options

Outcome: Varies by Region

This category is a hard one to call. Both Costa Rica and Panama have such varied topography and eco-climates. Not to mention all the other factors that can vary greatly from one region to the next, such as climate, infrastructure, and proximity to attractions.

For comparison’s sake, we’ll compare Panama vs. Costa Rica in four subcategories and examine the top cities expats are choosing for each type of area.

Mountain towns…Winner: Panama A popular mountain destination for North American expats in Costa Rica is Atenas. Located in the Central Valley, it enjoys mild weather year-round, great views of the surrounding mountains, proximity to San Jose, and an established expat community. Boquete, Panama, offers all those things plus cooler temps, better roads and infrastructure, and a million things to do nearby, from ziplining through cloud forests to climbing volcanoes to sport fishing off the coast.

City living…Champion: Panama Again Panama City, the nation’s capital, is a vibrant cosmopolitan city that caters to residents and travelers looking for both business and adventure. It offers world-class shopping and dining, as well as a 655-acre rain forest that’s within its city limits. On the other hand, San Jose, Costa Rica, is much smaller, much less attractive, and much more limited in terms of anything interesting to do.

Beach communities…Advantage: Costa Rica Beach living is right in Costa Rica’s wheelhouse. Towns like Nosara and many, many more have been drawing nomads and expats for decades, and the country caters very well to this genre. Costa Rica’s beach towns have everything you need, from aquatic adventures to quaint accommodations. Panama has a few good options, such as Coronado near the capital, but none can hold a candle to the laid-back coastal cities of Costa Rica.

Island retreats…No Contest: Panama Costa Rica was almost a no-show for this match. There just simply aren’t many island living options available for comparison. Cano Island offers a serene natural setting among the reefs, but with such slim pickings island ownership is pretty much out of the question. However, in Panama, you can own your own piece of paradise on our own Boca Chica Island, a 400-acre private island offering lots ranging from 5 to 50 acres. It’s just off the coast in an area that’s surrounded by a multitude of land and sea adventures.

Round #4 – Green Living

Winner: Costa Rica, Hands Down

Both Panama and Costa Rica have great options for living in harmony with nature. However, Costa Rica is committed to protecting its natural environment, due largely to its importance in the country’s eco-tourism industry. Almost ¼ of its total area is dedicated to parkland.

Over 90% of the country’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources, with a plan to increase this to 95% by 2014. It’s also on its way to becoming the first carbon-free economy in the world.

Both countries have tons of options for eco-tourism, from jungle tours to mangrove exploration to scuba diving.

Round #5 – Cost of Living

Slight Edge: Panama

Panama and Costa Rica both boast a cost of living that is a fraction of that of the U.S. or Canada. However, from the cost of property to the cost of a bunch of bananas, prices are a bit lower in Panama on average.

It’s true that in both countries there are certain regions or cities (typically the most developed or heavily-touristed areas) where everything from rent to a three-course meal runs close to North American prices, but in general you can find more places in Panama where those expenses are considerably less.

One of the largest contributing factors to Panama’s affordability for many expats is its Pensionado Program. Available to “retirees” of any age, those who meet the income requirements can qualify for discounts ranging from 15-50% on everything from health care to entertainment.

Round #6 – Ease of Access

Verdict: It’s a Tie

Panama and Costa Rica are fairly neck and neck in this category, each for their own reason. Panama takes the prize for international arrivals and departures. Its Tocumen International Airport has flights to several North American cities, as well as various points in South America, making Panama a great destination for those who want easy access to faraway places.

Costa Rica wins for being a great jumping-off point for other adventures throughout Central America, due to its more central location and affordable travel options.

Round #7 – Business Climate

Advantage: Panama

The International Finance Corporation ranked Panama 55th in the world for ease of doing business, compared to a rank of 102 for Costa Rica. Their findings are based on an examination of 10 factors to determine which countries are most conducive to the startup and operation of a local business.

And the difference is obvious if you’ve experienced the business climate of the two nations. Panama’s government is extremely pro-business and pro-investor. It’s also something of a tax haven. Costa Rica on the other hand is much more bureaucratic, with slower processes and higher taxes and fees.

Round #8 – Banking

Winner: Costa Rica (For Now)

With changing regulations, in both the U.S. as well as Costa Rica and Panama, this category tends to fluctuate greatly over time. However, for the past few years at least, banking for North Americans has typically been easier in Costa Rica.

This is mainly in terms of opening and holding a bank account. Both countries share many of the same requirements (identification, proof of residence and income, etc.). However, Costa Rica only requires a $25 minimum deposit (vs. Panama’s $1,000). Panamanian banks may also ask for additional documents such as proof of employment or reference letters from one or more North American banks.

One difference worth noting is that Panama’s official currency is the dollar, while Costa Rica uses the colon. Because it’s so thinly traded, the colon generally follows the dollar. However, in the event of a financial crisis, this could mean problems for Costa Rica.

Round #9 – Investment Opportunities

Our Pick: Panama

To put this showdown into perspective, let’s use the analogy that Panama is basically the Costa Rica of twenty years ago. When North American retirees began to get tired of the overcrowded expat communities and rising costs of Mexico, they turned to Costa Rica. Now that Costa Rica has reached mega-expat status, people are looking to Panama.

Costs are still lower and, as a result, there is much more capacity for growth. In addition to those factors, the Panamanian government is and has been placing heavy emphasis on tourism investment, largely in the form of tax incentives. It’s also possible for foreign residents to obtain financing in Panama, something they can’t get in Costa Rica.

Round #10 – Healthcare

Outcome: Too Close to Call

Healthcare is excellent in both Costa Rica and Panama. The two countries both have inexpensive public health care, with Costa Rica’s being touted as one of the world’s best low-cost medical programs. In fact, the quality of its health care system is ranked 36th in the world by the WHO, with the U.S. in 37th place.

Both countries also have private hospitals available, where many of the doctors speak English and trained in the U.S. Panama has several state-of-the-art hospitals that are affiliated with world-renowned facilities in the U.S., such as Johns Hopkins.

Panama’s only drawback is the accessibility of its modern private medical facilities. They’re often found only in the largest cities, specifically Panama City and David. Those in rural areas may have trouble finding the care they need, as often only first aid is available in the most remote areas.

Round #11 – Consumer Goods

Winner: Panama

We mentioned that the cost of living is slightly higher in Costa Rica. This is especially true when it comes to consumer goods, like groceries–for instance–which generally run about 15-20% higher than in Panama. Exports are also taxed more heavily in Costa Rica, so as a result a lot of products are much harder to find.

Costa Rica also has a higher value added tax (VAT), 14% vs. 7% in Panama. It also has a lot more taxes on luxury items like cars, electronics, and appliances. Compare this with Panama which has lower taxes and even a number of duty-free zones.

These factors have made Panama quite the shopping hub for folks in Latin America. In fact, on one of our last trips to Ecuador we met some people who were on their way back from Panama City where they’d gone specifically to buy several flat screen TVs, due to the country’s lower prices and better selection.

Round #12 – Foreign Land Ownership

Undisputed Champ: Panama

Panama has virtually no restrictions on the ownership of property by foreigners. In fact, there’s only one, and here it is. Foreigners, or foreign owners of Panamanian corporations, can’t own property within 10 kilometers of the country’s borders. That’s it. Also, under Panamanian law, foreigners have all the same protections as citizens.

By contrast, Costa Rica’s land ownership laws are not as liberally applied to foreigners. Land considered restricted or concession areas, including 95% of all beachfront property, is not eligible to be owned by foreign residents (unless they’ve lived in Costa Rica for at least 5 years). The only option for use of this kind of property is through 49% ownership in a corporation with a native Costa Rican.

The buying process is also much easier in Panama, where a good attorney can help to simplify things like title searches, purchase agreements, and the registering of the deed.

Coco Lime Monkey

Panama vs. Costa Rica…Which is the Grand Champion?

Were you keeping score during that match-up of Panama vs. Costa Rica? If so, we would advise you to take our recommendations with a grain of salt. Panama and Costa Rica both offer a host of great places to live as an expat. And determining which one is right for you depends 100% on your values and what you want out of your life in a new location.

Want to Learn about Res >Each one of these countries has different strengths, but you can listen to our interviews with the experts and find out what it takes to become a resident or if you need to do it at all. The Costa Rica residency interview is here and the Panama residency discussion can be found here.

Our best advice? Plan a trip down to Central America. Check out both of these amazing expat destinations and choose for yourself which one is right for your family.

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